Goal is to align fiscal priorities with UI values in 2017 budget
Monday, April 18, 2016

As Fiscal Year 2017 approaches, UI academic and administrative leaders are embarking on a new, values-based budget process.

The goal is to give deans and vice presidents greater decision-making power while also improving transparency. UI President Bruce Harreld calls the new budget process a “healthy conversation.”

The conversation began on April 8, when the president, provost, deans, vice presidents, and leaders of shared governance met for a day-long budget retreat. 

“There was broad consensus to protect and invest in existing areas of excellence while conserving resources and maintaining student success,” says Rod Lehnertz, vice president for finance and operations.

The group worked from four guiding principles for shaping the FY 2017 budget.

  • Supporting Student Success
    • Increased retention and four-year graduation rates
    • Creation and expansion of a high-impact and well-rounded student experience
    • A campus-wide culture of diversity and active inclusion
    • Increasing the value/return-on-investment of choosing our institution
  • Improving Quality Indicators
    • Increased attention to key AAU/Research indicators (i.e., academy memberships, citations/awards, federal and non-federal research grants)
    • New and increased faculty/interdisciplinary collaborations
    • Accenting the balance necessary between “an AAU aim” and success in our core values of teaching and well-rounded student success
    • Development and use of key performance indicators (for teaching, research, students)
  • Maintaining our values
    • Protection of and investment in existing areas of excellence and unique advantage
    • Exploration of new areas that will shape and build a successful and sustainable UI future
    • Disinvestment in other areas as necessary to enable success in areas of strength
    • Collaboration and alignment of efforts in order to be effective stewards of our resources, build the scale of our excellence, and add value
  • Shaping our Future
    • The creation of transformative societal impact
    • True interdisciplinary collaboration, aligned to maximize our shared success
    • The quality and strategic mix of students; the drive for life-long leaders and learners
    • Exploration and celebration of risk-taking that enables short- and long-term excellence

“A key priority is crafting a budget that moves faculty salaries close to the median in our peer group, which may require a greater investment in some areas,” says Provost Barry Butler.

The colleges and budget units will not receive inflationary dollars to cover faculty or P&S salary increases, but they will receive an overall budget increase, providing deans and vice presidents greater latitude in the decision-making process. 

In May, each budget unit will be invited to outline its spending decisions during a budget presentation with central-administration leadership. Unit leaders should be prepared to describe how their decisions support the four guiding principles. In addition, each budget unit will be invited to petition for additional funding from the president’s strategic initiative fund, in order to ensure the university’s highest priorities receive adequate funding.

“As we look at how best to invest our limited resources, we have to direct more money to the areas we value most,” says President Harreld. “That’s why identifying what we value as an institution is so important.”