Ohio University is open; several power outages are scheduled for the Athens Campus.

The timing of the outages taking place Dec. 29-31 has been altered. More Information
 

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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

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Pam Benoit

Stephen Golding

Stephen Golding

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Budget update: Forums and budget strategy


On Monday, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit and Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding sent an all-campus e-mail updating the campus about the University's budget.

Dear Ohio University Students, Faculty and Staff:

We want to update you on two internal budget-related matters.  At present, we do not have any additional budget planning information from the state to share.  However, we hope that we will begin to learn more late this month about how Governor John Kasich proposes to approach the state’s budget shortfall.

Open Budget Forums


The dates, times and locations of the first set of Open Budget Forums are listed below.  The forums will be an opportunity to provide information, answer questions and engage in discussion about budget matters.

Proposed deficit reduction strategy and multi-year planning

From Jan. 21- 28 we made a series of presentations about a proposed deficit reduction and multi-year planning strategy to Budget Planning Council, Constituent Group Leaders, Faculty Senate and Academic Chairs and Directors. 

An expanded version of the slides used in the presentations is now available on Executive Vice President and Provost (EVPP) Pam Benoit’s website at www.ohio.edu/provost/budgetplanningEVPP.cfm (Oak ID and password required).  Notes were added to the slides to make the material more comprehensible absent an accompanying presentation. Topics covered in the document include:

  • General budget concepts and terms

  • Problem statement and planning principles

  • Sizing the SSI deficit

  • Re-computing SSI

  • University spending analysis

  • Proposed deficit approach

  • Comprehensive multi-year strategy

We hope that you will take the time to review the slide set.  The strategy that we are proposing is multi-layered and designed to prepare the University for a transition to Responsibility Centered Management (RCM). 

RCM is a budget model that the University has studied for several years based on recommendations made during the first phase of the Vision Ohio planning process.  In the face of receding state support, the model’s ability to provide planning units with increased fiscal flexibility and responsibility closer to the unit has accelerated the need to move forward with the implementation of such a model.  RCM models have been successfully implemented at universities throughout the nation.  Descriptive information about RCM and its www.ohio.edu/provost/RCM_EVPP.cfm.

In our search for a new vice president for finance and administration in 2010, knowledge of RCM and the ability to implement a RCM system were two of the requirements for the position.  Steve Golding, in his previous positions at Pennsylvania University, the University of Colorado System and Cornell University, has been involved in establishing and managing RCM budgeting systems.

This year we will use a RCM analysis, which will assign revenues and costs to planning units, along with a University-wide approach to cost saving, cost sharing and revenue generation, to reach a differentiated set of planning unit budget reduction targets.  Those targets will be calculated to meet the impending deficit and to allow us to complete a budget restructuring that will put us in good stead to fully implement RCM over a three to five year period—a key step in our multi-year planning process that aims to arrive at a sustainable budget model by 2016.

During the presentations about our proposed strategy for reducing the deficit, academic quality is one of the topics that have understandably surfaced, and we will comment briefly on that subject now and continue a conversation about it in the forums.  All of our decisions about budget reductions must take into account the need to protect the quality of our core academic mission.  Some have pointed out that this will be a difficult task considering the scope of the budget reduction that we may face. 

Without question difficult decisions lie ahead, but we disagree with the propositions that resources alone determine academic quality or that a reduction in resources necessarily means a reduction in academic quality. Daily encounters with students, faculty and staff across the University convince us that, despite several years of budget reductions, the foundational elements of academic quality — passion, rigor, ingenuity, community and commitment to students — remain secure.  However, it is true that our current challenges will require us to be ever more creative and firm in our efforts to encourage our students’ intellectual and civic development through our dedication to the Four Fundamentals (inspired teaching and research, innovative academic programs, exemplary student support services and integrative co-curricular activities).

Two hundred and twenty three years ago, one of the founders of Ohio University made the long journey from Massachusetts to the fledging settlement of Marietta in the newly formed Northwest Territory.  In a sermon he preached during his sojourn in the Ohio Country, the Reverend Manasseh Cutler reminded his colleagues that in their “present circumstances” they ought to consider themselves “united by the bonds of common interest.”  And, in our present circumstances, so, we would suggest, should we.

Sincerely,

Pam Benoit
Executive Vice President and Provost

Stephen Golding
Vice President for Finance and Administration