Dec. 17, 2009

Team assignments made for cross-unit reviews

by Anne Krapfl

As part of the process to build an FY11 university budget, five small teams of faculty and staff will use the next 10 weeks to review functions or programs that cross administrative or academic units. The five teams are reviewing:

  • Student success and academic support programs in central units and the colleges
  • All graduate programs
  • International activities in central units, the colleges and ISU Extension
  • Diversity, multicultural and women's issues programs in central units and the colleges
  • Undergraduate student recruiting efforts in central units and the colleges

The five were selected for the large volume of administrative work that happens under their umbrellas. Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman identified them after soliciting ideas from senior leaders and the university budget advisory committee.

Hoffman wrote in a Dec. 2 memo to senior leaders that it's time "to consider a future in which we will continue to serve our basic, core missions, but we will do so in different ways."

The university's FY11 budget will be at least $63 million lighter in state funding over what it was just 18 months ago -- on July 1, 2008. That includes a reduction to the FY10 budget on July 1 and a $24.5 million mid-year reversion. Further reductions in state support are possible during the upcoming legislative session. The $31.5 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to Iowa State for FY10 also will go away on July 1. Cumulatively, this has created an environment in which "departments and programs may be eliminated or restructured. I know that service levels will change," Hoffman wrote.

The assignment

The purpose of the teams is to gather information about what programs are provided, said Ellen Rasmussen, associate vice president for budget and planning. She said the teams will identify where there is overlap among programs and services and where there appear to be opportunities for new or additional collaboration. But they will not be asked to make recommendations for changes.

That task still will be left to the groups and individuals normally responsible for developing budgets. The teams' reports will be shared widely with senior leaders, budget advisory groups and employee representative groups, as well as posted on the budget and planning web site.

A few other notes about the planning teams:

  • Individual members are not representing their college or unit. They were selected for their knowledge of those kinds of activities in their area, but will gather information from multiple units.
  • Neither college activities nor central unit activities will be viewed as preferential over the other.
  • Review teams' reports are due by March 1, 2010.

Providing input

Rasmussen noted that not every college or unit relevant to that activity is represented on every team. But they all will have the opportunity to provide information, she said. Any unit that provides programs or services in an area being reviewed should expect to be contacted. If, by mid-January, they have not, they should contact the liaison on the team from the executive vice president and provost office.

"This planning work has the potential to expand into future budget years," Rasmussen said. "We hope people will focus on the activities and how we can do them better -- not just with an eye on FY11. It might take us one or two or three years to get there."