University Budget, November 14, 2008
In my first message to campus last week as interim president, I committed to improved communication and open, collaborative decision-making. In that light, there is probably no issue of greater interest to the broad Colorado State community given the state of the global economy than the status of our overall financial foundation.
As you know, although the State of Colorado’s financial picture has remained more solid than many states, we have been planning so that we are prepared in the event of a budgetary downturn. We have also been working to improve overall understanding of our financial situation and approaches, and to help demystify these, Vice President for Finance Allison Dineen is in the process of meeting with our employee councils, ASCSU, and a number of other campus groups to provide an overview of the university’s finances including a review of actual revenue and expenditure patterns over the past five fiscal years.
Every president approaches the University organization and its budget differently, and I will be doing so with an eye to the higher education and fiscal landscapes here in Colorado and across the country. Given the state of our nation’s economy, and the uncertainty of our own state’s revenue forecasts, it makes sense to me to assume a more conservative administrative posture and the more conservative financial position that comes with it. As we move forward, I will continue to evaluate our administrative structures, something I see as a simple matter of routine for a public institution, and I will be expecting all colleges and divisions to pay careful and consistent attention to institutional expenditures, especially those in non- academic areas, to ensure we’re using our resources wisely.
As a first step in this overall effort, the University this week eliminated about $500,000 in a variety of central administrative positions, including a director position, an associate vice presidency, and the position of executive vice president. These salary savings will be placed into a reserve and would be available to help address any statewide budget rescissions or reductions, should those develop. If no budget reductions are required, these funds will be reinvested as part of the FY10 budget in the University’s academic core, with particular attention to supporting faculty, student access, and affordability.
I will be meeting soon with the Faculty Council Committee on Strategic and Financial Planning to discuss this plan and how any savings from administrative reductions could be applied in the best interest of Colorado State and its academic programs — either in the event of budget contractions or for academic growth after the economy recovers. I also hope that all of you with an interest will participate in the open budget forums that will be held over the next several months to finalize our budget for the coming year.
I hope you have a great weekend. Our student athletes are involved in a variety of events throughout the weekend and the University Center for the Arts will be hosting several student performances as well — I hope you get a chance to enjoy them
Dr. Tony Frank