Oct. 20, 2011

It's your turn: Share your thoughts on the budget model at an open forum

by Anne Krapfl

Share your ideas, observations

If you're unable to attend a forum, the committee still wants your input. Any student or employee may send their ideas to: budgetmodel@iastate.edu. An alternate online submission form also is available and assures anonymity for those who want it.

As part of efforts this fall to collect input on the effectiveness of the resource management budget model (RMM), the review committee will host two open forums the first week of November:

  • Nov. 2, noon-1 p.m., MU Sun Room
  • Nov. 4, noon-1 p.m., MU Cardinal Room

The first is sponsored by the Professional and Scientific Council and the second by the Faculty Senate, but both forums are open to all employees. Review committee members will respond to questions about the budget model and listen and learn from participants' comments and experiences with it. Each forum will open with a short overview of the intended purpose in adopting the model three years ago, as well as the committee's work so far.

"We want to hear from members of the university community, particularly those we haven't as yet, about how the RMM has affected their work, department or the university as a whole," said Arne Hallam, Liberal Arts and Sciences associate dean and co-chair of the review committee. "We expect that these will be largely listening sessions for us."

Collecting ideas

A 10-member review committee co-chaired by Hallam and Business dean Labh Hira has been working this semester with Resource Planning and Management Associates, a Nashville-based consulting firm, to gather information. The consultants led a symposium in late September and are conducting interviews and focus group sessions with a variety of employees during October and the first week of November.

The committee and consultants are scheduled to meet Nov. 15 to begin identifying key issues in Iowa State's use of the model. Ultimately, the review committee will submit a report of its findings and possible recommendations to executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman by May 1, 2012.

Is the model meeting its intended goals?

The perceived advantages of adopting the resource management model three years ago included greater:

  • Responsibility placed with the academic units to generate revenues and allocate resources
  • Efficiency and alignment with users' needs among administrative service providers (such as the library, IT services, student services, facilities management)
  • Flexibility to handle changes in enrollment, revenue, costs, university priorities and external opportunities
  • Clarity in linking incentives to performance
  • Accuracy in forecasting changes in revenues and costs
  • Collaboration among units to boost the overall performance of the university