Saturday, February 02, 2013

EKU Looking to "set aside" $23 Million

In an email message to the campus Friday, EKU President Doug Whitlock announced the intention of the Board of Regents to set aside 10 percent of the budget in a manner yet to be determined. Campus leadership will be discussing how to "change our business model" and reprioritize spending in the coming months.
 Salary Improvements Under Discussion
Dear Colleagues,
Earlier this afternoon, new Board of Regents Chair Craig Turner and other members of the Board met with the academic and institutional support leadership of the University.
The purpose of the meeting was to communicate some financial goals and aspirational vision of the Board to the University Community.  This meeting came in an environment we all recognize and understand.  Our state support has diminished and the prospects for a rebound of those dollars are dim, indeed.  Our enrollment declines of the last two years have caused our tuition income to fall short of our projections.  The obvious conclusion is that in order for us to advance the institution we must reprioritize our existing resources and look to change our business model to generate other revenues.
Mr. Turner issued a call for collaboration and cooperation in our identifying where in our budget we can set aside 10 percent of our budget (about $23 million).  It is the Board’s intention to utilize some of these funds for salary improvements and to commit the others to strategic purposes the University Community will identify.  I welcome the encouragement and expectation of the Board in this activity and believe it will secure the institution’s ability to control its destiny and give my successor some badly needed flexibility to take advantage of opportunities.
The Board has not directed how we achieve these goals.  That is up to us to achieve, working together.  I will be meeting soon with my cabinet and the Strategic Planning and Finance Council to discuss strategies and process.
While the Board has not directed how to accomplish this task, they have indicated that the plan to do so needs to be completed by the time the 2013-2014 budget is developed.  This does not mean that all the resources need to be freed and set aside by then, but that a definitive plan must be in place that identifies from where the 10 percent will come.
No decisions beyond what I have outlined above have been made.  I believe that we can enter into this process with the collaboration among ourselves and with the Board to which Mr. Turner is committed.  The task at hand will not be easy and it will certainly involve change.  I am firmly convinced, however, that it is the right time to take these steps and EKU will be the better for it.
I look forward to working with you to achieve this policy level goal the Board has set for us.
Doug Whitlock 


Anonymous said...

No wonder everyone in leadership is deciding to retire or "return to their true passion of teaching" (quaint phrase of the Glasser era).

23 million is not decreasing your office supplies interventions - we are talking program cuts. Look out departments with low student numbers, the clock is ticking.

Darn it they say they want to increase number and by far the biggest growing area of enrollement is online instruction. What does EKU do? Charge more for those courses when our competitors, even little libral arts colleges, are providing the same courses for less. Admission office has been a shambles for years, maybe they are making the turn but I don't know. Some of the staff in there need to go as they still lack initiative and creativity and believe recruitment is handing kids applications when they come to you.

I think what bugs me is this lip service about thinking outside the box or pursuing a more entrepeneurial tact but whenever you try to go down that path you get held up or shot down with bureacratic policies from the last generation being enforced by narrow vision middle mangement. If you want folks to do those things then start creating policies and mechanisms which support those pursuits. Individual departments have opportunities they could pursue but what is the point if the benefits of your effort either go to the collective university to sustain others or it is used as a justification to reduce your own department's budget? Heck, just cut everyone equally 10% and be done with it.

Richard Day said...

Yes, I'd say this is definitely into people and very possibly departments. We're pretty far past office supplies.

I tend to prefer a function-by-function look at budget cutting. If programs touch students, either leave them alone and insist on quality program, or cut the whole program.

Across the board cuts seem like a bad idea if they leave us competing with U of Phoenix.

In my scenario, mid-level administrators would have reason for discomfort.