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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Nov. 17, 2006

Senators have more questions about proposed budget model

by Erin Rosacker

The Faculty Senate again took up discussion of the proposed budget model at its Nov. 14 meeting, generating concerns, questions and clarifications. The dialogue, facilitated by members of the Budget Model Review and Implementation Committee (BMRIC), will be used to help the senate formulate a formal response to a request for input from President Gregory Geoffroy.

Interim provost Susan Carlson reiterated her support for maintaining the role of the senate's Council on University Resource Policies and Allocations (RPA), an advisory committee to the provost that reviews budget issues and formulates recommendations dealing with budget and planning.

"It's probably appropriate that the RPA is not part of the BMRIC report, because I think it is really between the senate and the provost how those committees operate," Carlson said. "The assumption out of our office is that it will continue as it has."

Carlson shared with the senate a set of principles guiding the budget process at the college level. These principles -- which outline the responsibilities for decision-making on revenues and expenses -- were developed by the provost office and college deans.

Those principles call for:

  • Consultation between college deans and an advisory committee, which includes faculty representation and at least one faculty senator.
  • Annual communication from the dean to college personnel concerning college goals, priorities, planning and budget.
  • Administrative responsibility of budget decisions to rest with the dean.

Associate vice president for budget and planning Ellen Rasmussen and BMRIC chair Doug Epperson fielded questions after a brief overview of changes in the proposed budget model, which is named the "Resource Management Model."

Cost of instruction, a point of concern aired by senate members after BMRIC's presentation at their September meeting, has been taken out of immediate plans for implementation. Additional study of the issue would continue for the first three years of a new budget model to determine how to appropriately factor it into the system.

Other concerns raised by senators involved budget control at the department level, allocation of graduate student tuition, allocation among interdisciplinary studies and resources to implement the proposed model.

In addressing the issue of proper preparations for conversion to a new model, Rasmussen pointed to efforts already under way. These include workshops and seminars next semester between the provost and college deans, involvement of college fiscal officers, and a steering group that is developing additional and more specific projections.

"We aren't just going to throw people into the deep end of the pool without something to hang onto and some way to help them project and assist themselves," Rasmussen said. "It's an ongoing process and it's not something that we are oblivious to."

Discussions, including another Q&A session, will continue at the senate's Dec. 12 meeting. With a mid-January deadline for feedback to Geoffroy, a vote on the issue could be continued until the Jan. 16 meeting.

In other business, the senate approved motions to:

  • Change the name of the department of health and human performance to the department of kinesiology.
  • Establish an undergraduate certificate in Latin American Studies.
  • Discontinue central university tracking of students with unmet high school requirements.


Faculty senators questioned budget committee members about such issues as cost of instruction, budget control at the department level, allocation of graduate student tuition and resources to implement the proposed model.