What are UO’s future budget priorities and how are they changing?

The only information the administration gives to the UO Board of Trustees, here, is rudimentary data on past expenditures with no long term year-over-year comparisons. Apparently the board does not see any budget priorities plan for the future, just projections for spending for the upcoming FY.

UO’s VP for Finance and Administration’s financial reports webpage points you to the Budget and Resource Planning webpage:

Budget and Resource Planning: Some of our most sought-after financial reports (e.g., budget and expenditure reports by fiscal year) can be found on the budget and resource planning website.

Which sounds promising. However that page does not point to any plan for our future budget or for expenditure prioritization. One link does take you to detailed spreadsheets on this year’s expenditures. That hasn’t been updated since November:

The most useful info is the detailed reports showing trends in past expenditures over time by unit here – but that ends with the 2014-15 FY that closed in June 2015.

And finally there’s this link, which takes you here, or should I say nowhere:

There is an “2017-18 Institutional Hiring Plan” on the Provost’s webpage here, but it’s just for TTF faculty. Nothing on where our ever-increasing administrative expenditures will go. If there’s anything solid on the new-new budget model I can’t find it – post a comment if you can find it somewhere.

In response to a public records request from the Emerald, the provost’s office did eventually release the proposals departments submitted, and I’ve posted them here.

Coltrane “lent” Law $10M, gave AAA $5.3M in last-minute off-budget MOU’s

In a nutshell, the CAS budget cuts that are now happening are in part because of side payments to Law and AAA agreed to by Interim Provost Scott Coltrane, the day before he took over as Interim President from Mike Gottfredson, and 6 months after Interim CAS Dean Andrew Marcus warned Coltrane about the coming CAS budget train wreck.

These payments total about $3M a year, and include $500K a year to AAA while it tried to “increase revenue streams through new program development (e.g., Product Design program).”  This seems to be in addition to the $450K start-up and $140K recurring that came for Sports Product Management and Design through the “Budget Advisory Group”, documented here, plus other costs such as Jim Bean’s salary.

Page down for the most recent data I have on the overall budget model allocations, from the FY ending June 2014. All quite confusing. I wonder who really knows what’s going on here?

It took me a public records request and more than two weeks to get these records from the UO administration – but at least they waived the fees, unlike with the Track Town records.

$10M for Law:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.54.11 PM

$5.3M for AAA:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.54.37 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.54.55 PM

Full pdf’s here, including one showing some relaxation of the CAS budget cuts that resulted from the budget model changes. The most recent documentation I have on the overall budget model is from 2014. Brad Shelton said at the SBC meeting earlier this week that he will provide an update.

Schill and Marcus lance Gottfredson and Coltrane’s festering CAS budget boil

Don’t blame the physicians.

Interim CAS Dean Andrew Marcus sent this blunt and prescient letter to then President Gottfredson and Provost Coltrane two years ago. I can’t remember where I got it – probably from my stash of presidential archives. PDF here.

In it Marcus lays out the budget problems that he’d inherited from former CAS Dean Coltrane, and that had been inflicted on CAS by the many changes in Brad Shelton’s budgeting model – including diversion of CAS tuition to other colleges – and the side deals, as well as by SCH declines and the faculty union’s successful bargaining efforts to move pay toward the AAU averages.

Marcus also puts Gottfredson on notice that money will have to be found to boost tenure track hiring and pay for science startups, or we can kiss the AAU goodbye. Gottfredson did raise money  – for a new softball stadium.  Coltrane raised money too – for 160over90. Here’s hoping Schill brings in something for the academic side soon. Meanwhile the bleeding will continue, at least in CAS.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 5.10.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 5.09.58 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 5.09.48 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 5.09.37 PM

Marcus attempts to dispel rumors, but budget is still opaque

2/2/2016: I’ve pasted the only actual budget information that was in the budget memo at the bottom. Where are the numbers showing the trends in the CAS budget, and where is the info showing where the money taken out of CAS has been going and where it will go? The $4M CAS deficit noted below is the result of changes in how Brad Shelton’s budget model allocates money, and the many side transfers that have been made outside of that model. But that data is no longer being updated – and the old data seems to have been taken down.

Someone has these numbers. Why aren’t we being shown them?

February 1, 2016

To: CAS Faculty and Staff
From: W. Andrew Marcus
Interim Tykeson Dean

Re: The college budgeting process and rumors

Dear CAS Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to update you on the college-wide budgeting process and – I hope – to dispel some rumors that I am hearing from some quarters. As I noted in my memo of January 13, 2016 (https://casweb.uoregon.edu/budget-memo), CAS needs to reduce its $4M operating budget deficit while also aligning its resources to meet the strategic priorities outlined by President Schill (https://president.uoregon.edu/content/aligning-our-resources-support-academic-excellence).

In CAS, this has meant growing our Ph.D. numbers and
tenure track faculty lines (we have 22 searches underway to fill replacement and new lines), while reducing staffing in the dean’s office and seeking ways to align teaching resources in CAS departments with instructional needs. This last measure means that we are reducing the total number of non-tenure track faculty lines, which – of course – creates uncertainty for people in those positions.

To be clear, we are continuing to follow the process I outlined in the January 13 memo. This means we are having budget conversations with every department and program in the college. None of us is happy about reducing budgets, but they are necessary conversations. The way these meetings work is that we (the dean’s office) propose possible reductions based on student numbers and other pedagogical, departmental and college-wide considerations. Department heads and managers often provide alternatives to our proposals, which leads to a conversation (sometimes heated debate) about alternatives to achieve the results. I have been adamant that alternative solutions brought forward by a department must achieve the same on-going cost reductions – unless an argument can be made for a compelling institution-wide need that trumps the need to reduce the deficit and grow TTF numbers.

Regardless of the particulars of any one program, we are adhering to the same principles I outlined in the January 13 memo. But let me dispel a few things I’ve heard circulating:

 The dean’s office is still having conversations with departments about proposed cuts; nothing is finalized at this time. In most cases, these conversations have changed some of the outcomes we initially propose. In departments with dramatic enrollment declines, however, there may be few (if any) alternatives that a department can offer to our proposal to align instructional staffing with student demand. I acknowledge those conversations can feel one-sided to the department and we remain open to alternatives, if any can be found.

 Final decisions for all departments will be made only after review of our recommendations by central administration and a meeting with United Academics to ensure that our processes are in compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I hope – but cannot guarantee – that we will have final decisions by the end of February. It is my goal to give all affected employees as much time as possible to plan their future.

 Reductions in personnel numbers will be achieved only through contract non-renewals. We are not doing mid-term contract terminations or severing of MOUs.

 Also we are not terminating tenure-track faculty. Much of the reason for pursuing these painful budget decisions is to support growth of TTF lines, as evidenced by our ongoing searches.

 We are not terminating any departments, nor have we ever contemplated this measure.

 We are not reducing overall GTF numbers in the college, although some departments will see declines (and others will see increases) as we move instructional GTF support from low-enrollment to higher-enrollment units. Moreover, with the additional Ph.D. fellowships offered by the Graduate School, we hope to achieve growth in Ph.D. numbers in the year to come.

 All colleges, schools and administrative units within the university are being asked to go through a similar budget process. CAS is not being singled out in this process, although the process differs between units. For example, administrative units at UO have been asked to develop plans for a 2% budget reduction. In CAS, however, we have a specific monetary target, which is to eliminate our $4 million deficit. We are doing this by realigning instructional resources with instructional demand, which means that some units are taking a greater than 2% cut, while others are experiencing a smaller reduction. I know that times of uncertainty can be exceptionally difficult, both emotionally and professionally. This was my reason for detailing at the January 13 CAS heads and department managers meeting the financial history that has led us to this point and the specific principles for moving through this time, principles which include transparency and consistency. As you hear of “decisions that have been made” or “cuts that are happening,” please go back to the memo after the January 13 meeting and review its content (https://casweb.uoregon.edu/budget-memo). I pledge to adhere to the processes and principles outlined in that document; whatever else you hear is speculation at this time.

As a final note, I want to acknowledge the difficult work that our department and program heads are doing in this process. They have been articulate advocates for their programs, their employees, and their disciplines; it is clear they are willing to put themselves on the line for all of you. I hope you will give them the thanks and deep respect they deserve as we work through this process. I am proud to count them as colleagues.

From the budget memo:

Achieving our research and instructional goals has been complicated by the significant budget shortfall that CAS has carried for the last two years, something we have discussed many times in meetings with heads, faculty, and staff. At one point, our projected annual operating deficit exceeded $12 million. Thus far, we have been able to avoid major reductions by using carry forward funds. In addition, central administration has worked with the college to shift funds to CAS. In the past year alone, our central administration has authorized a permanent, recurring budget augmentation of $7 million per year, provided a one time transfer of $4M to our budget, altered the budget model to add SCH-based funds to all school and colleges, and helped CAS remove major costs centers (startups and high performance computing) from our budget. Even with these measures, however, we face a projected deficit of about $4 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year. We therefore need to implement cost-savings measures in order to balance the budget in future years.

Brad Shelton’s BRP website is even less informative:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.09.20 AM

There used to be very clear data on the budget model and side payments:

 

But while CAS faculty are being laid off, Provost Coltrane is increasing the general fund subsidy for athletics – his budget for the Jock Box subsidy is up 39% since 2000, including  another 7% this year:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 12.20.23 PM

(From Nathan Tublitz’s Financial Transparency Tool on Duckweb)

Faculty union and CAS Dean Marcus criticize UO’s spending priorities

Both letters are remarkably restrained, considering how badly Moffitt, Shelton, Coltrane, and Gottfredson have screwed things up. The letter from Michael Dreiling (Soc) and Chris Sinclair (Math) of United Academics and signed by 340 UO faculty is in the RG today, here. Read it all, here’s a brief extract:

In May, The Register-Guard ran a story about the University of Oregon’s new $20 million branding campaign to boost the university’s academic image. The story generated a significant amount of comment on campus and in the community, with many left wondering if $20 million couldn’t be better spent on the academic programs themselves.

… Meanwhile, the university continues spending money in ways that pit one academic priority against another, often inexplicably and without transparency. For instance, rather than drawing resources from the growing pool of unrestricted reserves, millions were diverted toward the UO Law School to offset sagging enrollments — while simultaneously, the College of Arts and Sciences was forced to manage a deficit with austerity, compromising core academic programs. These were rainy days, so why were the reserves not tapped to meet the needs of both colleges?

Johnson Hall has been trying to sweep these problems under the rug for a long time. Here’s a letter from acting CAS Andrew Marcus to former President Mike Gottfredson, last January, laying out the problems with UO’s budgeting process. From what I’ve heard Coltrane did nothing to deal with these issues as Interim Provost, or as Interim President:

CAS budget 2014

Full four page pdf here.

Bean to end Shelton’s "Responsibility Centered Management"

10/31/2012: Today’s message from our interim provost – presumably sent with Gottfredson’s blessing – represents some serious backtracking regarding Brad Shelton’s 2009 “New Budget Model”, of which Shelton wrote:

What is RCM? In most modern American universities, authority is highly decentralized, but responsibility (specifically financial responsibility) is held centrally. This decoupling of authority from financial responsibility poses problems for decision makers at every level of the University. Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) is a combination of policies and practices designed to overcome these problems by coupling decision making directly to the associated financial ramifications. These policies and practices should be clearly articulated and crafted to fit the mission of the institution. The backbone of an RCM is typically a Budget Model which:

  • prescribes precisely how revenues are shared amongst responsibility units,
  • associates revenues directly to revenue creating activity (for example student credit hours or degrees awarded),
  • allows decision makers to realize rewards from good financial decisions,
  • allows good local decision making to benefit the entire institution.

The Oregon Budget Model is described in detail in the Oregon Budget Model Primer

Bean’s message?

“It is a tool that allows the Provost and each of the Deans to understand the financial consequences of each decision they make. The Model is not designed to create incentives or disincentives …”

But of course the whole point of Responsibility Centered Management is exactly that – and it’s a good thing. Johnson Hall has blown through its share of the budget with a raft of pet projects like the $2 million Jock Box budget, Police, administrative sabbaticals, golden parachutes for “special assistants” etc. There’s also been some serious mismanagement – e.g. of ORSA, and some other things they’ve hid pretty well.

Apparently raising the tax rate on the colleges isn’t enough to cover these bills – now Bean wants to pretend the whole deal was just advisory. He gets a bit muddled there in the middle, but see the bottom for where this is going:

Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost
Message for October 31, 2012

Colleagues: 

Below is a description of the Oregon Budget Model.  I thank a number of members of the administration for helping put it together, most notably Brad Shelton. 

What is the Oregon Budget Model?  

The Oregon Budget Model is an arrangement between the Provost and the Deans of the Schools and Colleges. The model determines the overall General Fund Budgets (see below) of the Centrally Funded Units, and each School or College. 

The primary purpose of the Model is to achieve decision-level transparency. It is a tool that allows the Provost and each of the Deans to understand the financial consequences of each decision they make. The Model is not designed to create incentives or disincentives nor does the Model proscribe the internal budgeting process of any School and College.  Those decisions should be made to attain the mission of the institution, not to maximize dollars.  The model is there to show the financial impact of proposed decisions as one factor in decision-making. 

Under the Budget Model, any changes in educational activity directly affect the budgets of the Deans. Changes might include how many student credit hours faculty teach, how many majors are in a school and how many graduate students are enrolled.  

What is the General Fund? 

The General Fund is the bulk of our basic operating funds, the dollars we use to pay for instruction, maintenance, utilities, the library and a host of other operations. The two primary sources of General Fund dollars are student tuition and state appropriation. The General Fund comprises a little more than half of all of the operational dollars flowing through the institution. 

There are many other types of funds within the institution, such as Grants, Contracts, Auxiliary funds (Housing, Parking, Athletics and others) and Gift funds.  The Oregon Budget Model does not affect any of these funds.  

Oregon Budget Model impact 

The best way to understand the impact of the Model on the University is to consider the change in the percentages of overall Academic General Fund budgets and overall Administrative General Fund budgets. 

The Oregon Budget Model was fully implemented in 2010-11, although some of the principles of the model were already used to adjust 2009-10 budgets.  Here is the General Fund breakdown:

General Fund %
Schools and Colleges
Centrally Funded Units
2008-09
57.2%
42.8%
2009-10
59.5%
41.5%
20010-11
61.9%
38.1%
2011-12
63.4%
36.6%
2012-13 (approximate)
63%
37%

To understand these percentages, we must consider some important caveats. The Oregon Budget Model does not just realign budgets; it also realigns responsibilities for certain types of expenditures. For example, under the Model, Academic support accounts became School and College costs rather than Centrally Funded costs.  The percentages above take most of those changes into account, going back to 2008.  Thus we see that the Model has effectively shifted a significant percentage of funding from Centrally Funded to School and College Budgets. 

Plenty of detail about all of our budgets can be found on the web site of the Office of Budget and Resource Planning: http://brp.uoregon.edu 

Future of the Oregon Budget Model 

The Oregon Budget Model is not cast in stone. It has proved to be an excellent tool for analyzing decisions, but any such tool is guaranteed to create unintended consequences. Further, we find ourselves in a very different situation today than in 2009. The model will need to change as we understand the full impact of recent economic events. Like every AAU school that works with an activity-based budgeting system, we will constantly be adapting the Model to best achieve the mission and strategic goals of the University of Oregon. 

I welcome questions or comments at provost@uoregon.edu

Regards, Jim

New Budget Model revisited

1/25/2012: Back in Feb 2010 – almost 2 years ago – I wrote the overly optimistic post below, about Brad Shelton’s “New Budget Model”. The idea was that money should follow students – except for a tax for central admin expenditures. At the time the tax rate for Johnson Hall was 28%. How’s this working out?

Not so good. Read Shelton’s web site here. The September 2011 tax rate had been raised to 35%. And it turns out even this is not enough to pay the $2 million in raises for administrators like Frances Dyke and de Kluyver, Jim Bean’s beamer and 5 big pet ideas, Police, the $1.83 million Bean and Frances Dyke have had us paying for Jock Box tutoring, subsidized overheads rates for athletics, etc. Forget about legitimate basic central administration functions like IT support, research startup, accounting, classrooms, etc.

So, word down at the faculty club is that the central administration is now organizing another raid on the money that is supposed to support our academic mission. Either another tax increase, or possibly new CFO Jamie Moffitt will abandon the whole thing, and go back to budgeting a la Moseley. Comments welcome.

2/11/2010: Brad Shelton, UO’s new VP for Budgeting, has been working on a new budget model for UO. This model will specify how UO’s money is allocated to the schools and the administration. I think this budget model will do three important things.

First, it will provide some basic transparency about where our money comes from and where it goes. Many of the newly available public resources on UO expenditures derive from Shelton’s need for the information to complete this process. Until he got involved, this information was deliberately hidden away from the faculty and even the colleges, and there was no prospect for open debate on UO spending priorities.

Second, the model will, for the first time, impose a hard budget constraint on the administration. In the past, when Frances Dyke and Linda Brady wanted to spend a few million remodeling Johnson Hall, or Frohnmayer wanted to give Moseley a fat retirement deal, or Moseley needed to spend a million on a new Diversity office quick to cover up a lawsuit, or Jim Bean wanted to give his friends a raise on the sly, they simply did it. Then they figured out later who to take the money from. Under the new model, the administration will get a cut of the gross, and they will have to live within it. How radical – education comes before administration.

Third, the model will make clear the extent to which student tuition money from CAS, Business and Journalism goes to support the other colleges and the such administrative adventures as Bend, Portland, Sustainability, OIED, and Bean’s “big ideas”. No comment on whether or not these are good ideas, but if they are good, why hide the numbers?

The basic plan is simple: Colleges will keep the tuition they collect, but pay a 28% tax to the administration for central services. The administration will also get the state allocations. (This seems odd – it would be more politic to allocate them to instruction.)  The details are already getting ugly however. The biggest issue – after the tax rate – is what gets grandfathered in. The administration has been on a splurge for the past 5 years – does this go into their base? Similarly, some colleges are subsidized by others. In particular, CAS and to a lesser extent Business subsidize Law, Music, Bend and now Portland. According to some calculations CAS gives up $23 million to the other schools, Business give up $9 million, and Journalism also is in a hole. Are these arrangements going to continue, or will more money go to CAS? From what I hear the new model will lock in the current subsidies. But since new tuition money will be allocated to where the students are, over 5 or 10 years the percent going to administrative bloat, and the extent of the cross-subsidies, will gradually decrease.

Importantly, this model will be applied at the college level – not at the department level. But obviously it will make it easier to think about allocation issues between departments as well, and it’s hard to imagine that won’t have some impact before long

One critical part of this plan is improved financial transparency. As I said, developing this plan has required the preparation of much more information than has previously been available about UO expenditures, and Shelton has been great about making it public, along with Kelly Wolf, and Laura Hubbard. But once the system is in place, the games will begin. Administrators will try to put their pet projects onto the instructional side. So it will be important for the ongoing expenditures to be transparent too.

As it happens, because of a motion Nathan Tublitz got through the Senate last year, the UO Senate Financial Transparency Working Group is developing a solution to this now, in collaboration with UO Controller Kelly Wolf. Soon any UO employee will be able to access transaction level details from UO’s accounting system, via a link on your duckweb page. So next time the administration decides to give one (or three) of their own $750,000 golden parachute buyouts, everyone will be able to see that the money comes from a fund that was established for retiring tenured teaching faculty. We still might not be able to do anything about it, but at least it will be common knowledge.

Bottom line, the administrators will keep their current loot. Music, Law and AAA will still be subsidized by CAS. But the sort of thing that Moseley is (still) doing with Bend will not happen again. And if UO continues to grow, over time more of the new tuition money will go to CAS for instructional purposes than has been true in the past.

P&L statements on Texas Professors

9/16/2010: From a report in the Chronicle by Katherine Margan:

Faculty members at Texas A&M University are, by and large, generating more money than they are costing the university, although some of the most prestigious professors would appear to be operating in the red, according to a controversial report prepared by the university system as a move toward greater accountability.

This is apparently stirring up a lot of anger among some professors. I’m not sure why, obviously this is just a small part of what we do but it is a part.

I did these calculations a while ago for President Emeritus Frohnmayer, on the argument that people should know exactly how much his golden parachute costs the rest of the faculty. I got some angry comments – presumably from Frohnmayer – on that post. Then this summer, I asked to see his current year contract. He hadn’t signed one, but he was still getting paid – in summer. That raised a few red flags, and Russ Tomlin quickly put him on the regular TRP retirement plan, cutting his cost to UO by about $200,000 a year. The power of information.

UO’s new budget model

9/10/2010: VP for Budget and Planning Brad Shelton has a new website for his new Budget Model. http://budgetmodel.uoregon.edu. We just got the news, but it looks like another big step forward for transparency at UO. I particularly like the no bullshit FAQ. Example:

Why would you use a budget system that clearly does not adequately support graduate education?

It is a simple reality that most graduate student education is expensive and must be subsidized from other sources. No budget model can be held responsible for this fact. The Oregon Budget Model represents the reality of graduate funding as accurately as possible so that each Responsibility Unit within the University can formulate its own principles and strategies on how best to subsidize graduate education. Additionally, under the OBM the tuition remissions of all administrative Graduate Teaching Fellows will be fully funded by the central administration. This represents a direct central investment in graduate education of over 2 million dollars per year.

More bloat

7/27/2010: With some help we are now digging into “The Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs” data mentioned earlier. The comparisons between UO and other schools are pretty shocking. This is not just a case of too little money – it’s what we spend the money on. Hint: it’s not teaching and research. UO badly needs a thorough reappraisal of its spending priorities – but from what we can see, Frances Dyke is still in charge. $2.4 million on Johnson Hall remodeling and a bunch of new Assistant VP’s of this and that is not going to help UO stay in the AAU.

Where’s our money.

From UO newsclips:

Pac-10 schools face funding losses: States cut funding for Pac-10 schools as budget losses impact financial aid and tuition hikes. — The Daily Evergreen

(WSU does not stand alone in the face of higher education budget cuts.  Throughout the Pac-10, the challenges of a tight economy are weighing on education. … UO James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for the University of Oregon, said UO is in a different situation than other Pac-10 schools. State funding for Oregon universities plummeted in 1991, he said, so UO underwent reorganization years ago. Although the university is facing a 16 percent cut in state support, only 8.5 percent of university funding comes from the state in the first place. Also, student enrollment has increased over the past couple years from about 20,300 to 22,000, most of them out-of-state students, he said.)

Let’s see, that’s $21 million in new revenue, (minus the state loss) most of which seems to have gone to fund UO’s ever increasing administrative budget. Still think that’s 38% of our peer average, Provost Bean?

And let me add a plug for UO Newsclips. They are the most honest PR people I’ve ever heard of. Every day they send out an email with every news story that mentions UO.  They make a point of including the negative. Even letters to the Editor from obviously crazy people on rants – you we know who you we are. The OUS PR person, Di Saunders, has a similar service but she just sends out the goody-goody stuff.

From their website: To subscribe to UO E-Clips: Send an email to “uonews@uoregon.edu” FROM YOUR “@uoregon.edu” ADDRESS with “Subscribe E-clips” on the subject line.

Tell them UO Matters sent you.

Too much

Z4PRES –  President Emeritus ZGEN – Provost General 61 – Unclassified Salaries 10100 – Unclassified Salaries 245700
Z4PRES –  President Emeritus ZGEN – Provost General 66 – Grad Ast Resdnt Phys Dentist Cl Fel 10600 – Grad Asst/Res Phys/Dent/Clin Fellws 0
Z4PRES –  President Emeritus ZGEN – Provost General 69 – Other Payroll Expenses 10964 – OPE Uncl Health/Life 13500
Z4PRES –  President Emeritus ZGEN – Provost General 69 – Other Payroll Expenses 10967 – OPE Uncl Retirement 41450
Z4PRES –  President Emeritus ZGEN – Provost General 69 – Other Payroll Expenses 10968 – OPE Uncl Other 13750
Z4PRES –  President Emeritus ZGEN – Provost General 71 – Service & Supplies 20000 – Services & Supplies Expense 185600

Here’s the 2010 Budget for Frohnmayer’s “President Emeritus” office. He is paid $245,700 (notice he quit the voluntary furlough program) for co-teaching 2 small classes, gets a full time GTF and a secretary, and $185,600 for “Services and Supplies” – not bad compared to the $1000 ASA money real professors get.

This info is from the FY10 UO Operational Expenditure Budget by RU and Department files that the Budget and Resource Planning people have started posting. Very helpful stuff!

If you look at the Provost’s Office, spending has gone from
$1,436,434 in 2006 to
$4,890,764 in 2010.
I know Brady and Bean have been big spenders, but this almost seems implausible. Does anyone have an explanation? This makes Moseley look pretty good – or maybe he was just good at hiding things?

Brad Shelton’s new budget model

2/11/2010: Brad Shelton, UO’s new VP for Budgeting, has been working on a new budget model for UO. This model will specify how UO’s money is allocated to the schools and the administration. I think this budget model will do three important things.

First, it will provide some basic transparency about where our money comes from and where it goes. Many of the newly available public resources on UO expenditures derive from Shelton’s need for the information to complete this process. Until he got involved, this information was deliberately hidden away from the faculty and even the colleges, and there was no prospect for open debate on UO spending priorities.

Second, the model will, for the first time, impose a hard budget constraint on the administration. In the past, when Frances Dyke and Linda Brady wanted to spend a few million remodeling Johnson Hall, or Frohnmayer wanted to give Moseley a fat retirement deal, or Moseley needed to spend a million on a new Diversity office quick to cover up a lawsuit, or Jim Bean wanted to give his friends a raise on the sly, they simply did it. Then they figured out later who to take the money from. Under the new model, the administration will get a cut of the gross, and they will have to live within it. How radical – education comes before administration.

Third, the model will make clear the extent to which student tuition money from CAS, Business and Journalism goes to support the other colleges and the such administrative adventures as Bend, Portland, Sustainability, OIED, and Bean’s “big ideas”. No comment on whether or not these are good ideas, but if they are good, why hide the numbers?

The basic plan is simple: Colleges will keep the tuition they collect, but pay a 28% tax to the administration for central services. The administration will also get the state allocations. (This seems odd – it would be more politic to allocate them to instruction.)  The details are already getting ugly however. The biggest issue – after the tax rate – is what gets grandfathered in. The administration has been on a splurge for the past 5 years – does this go into their base? Similarly, some colleges are subsidized by others. In particular, CAS and to a lesser extent Business subsidize Law, Music, Bend and now Portland. According to some calculations CAS gives up $23 million to the other schools, Business give up $9 million, and Journalism also is in a hole. Are these arrangements going to continue, or will more money go to CAS? From what I hear the new model will lock in the current subsidies. But since new tuition money will be allocated to where the students are, over 5 or 10 years the percent going to administrative bloat, and the extent of the cross-subsidies, will gradually decrease.

Importantly, this model will be applied at the college level – not at the department level. But obviously it will make it easier to think about allocation issues between departments as well, and it’s hard to imagine that won’t have some impact before long

One critical part of this plan is improved financial transparency. As I said, developing this plan has required the preparation of much more information than has previously been available about UO expenditures, and Shelton has been great about making it public, along with Kelly Wolf, and Laura Hubbard. But once the system is in place, the games will begin. Administrators will try to put their pet projects onto the instructional side. So it will be important for the ongoing expenditures to be transparent too.

As it happens, because of a motion Nathan Tublitz got through the Senate last year, the UO Senate Financial Transparency Working Group is developing a solution to this now, in collaboration with UO Controller Kelly Wolf. Soon any UO employee will be able to access transaction level details from UO’s accounting system, via a link on your duckweb page. So next time the administration decides to give one (or three) of their own $750,000 golden parachute buyouts, everyone will be able to see that the money comes from a fund that was established for retiring tenured teaching faculty. We still might not be able to do anything about it, but at least it will be common knowledge.

Bottom line, the administrators will keep their current loot. Music, Law and AAA will still be subsidized by CAS. But the sort of thing that Moseley is (still) doing with Bend will not happen again. And if UO continues to grow, over time more of the new tuition money will go to CAS for instructional purposes than has been true in the past.

Lariviere, UO and 66 and 67

1/27/2010: Now that 66 and 67 have passed, UO’s budget seems pretty safe. Rumors are that there is plenty of cash about. We can expect a big announcement from new UO President Richard Lariviere soon about how he plans to spend it – sometime after he deals with his first priorities, Masoli and Kelly.

The administrators have already jumped the queue. The Provost’s budget has grown from $1.4 million to $3.7 million in 4 years, and now Lariviere is letting Jim Bean make even more VP hires – the UO jobs website currently lists 3 of them.So if you go by what he does rather than what he says, Lariviere thinks UO’s number one problem is too few VPs.

The academic side can expect some promises and some trickle down, but Lariviere has been in charge for 7 months now and shows no signs of wanting to rock the boat, much less change course.

Sorry, but that’s how it looks from here and I’m hardly the only one saying it. If you’ve got another interpretation, post it.