Senate chairs are urging constituents to attend one of this week's three budget summits to become better informed, provide input into and ask questions about Ohio University's budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1.
During the summits, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Decatur will address current revenue projections for state support, tuition and fees, grant funding, donor support and investment income. The summits also will cover expense projections for areas including salaries and benefits, institutional aid for students, program support and utilities.
Wednesday's summits are scheduled for 2 p.m. in Baker University Center 240/242 and 7 p.m. in Walter Hall 235. Thursday's summit will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Baker University Center 240/242 and will be streamed live and archived at http://breeze.cns.ohiou.edu/adminsenate/ for regional campus constituents who are unable to attend in person.
Faculty Senate Chair Sergio Lopez-Permouth said that engaging the budget conversation is "an investment in communication, transparency and good decision-making."
"We have a very bright group of employees who might come up with new perspectives that help alleviate the severity of the budget recommendations,'' he added. "Allowing as many people as possible to see where the decisions or recommendations are coming from is the best way to prevent misunderstanding or resentment."
On Thursday, Classified and Administrative senates will hold abbreviated meetings to allow constituents to participate in the week's final summit.
Administrative Senate Chair Brenda Noftz said attending the summits is a great way to become informed about the budget, adding that input from across the university is essential to ensure fairness.
"The budget affects everybody in the university community," Noftz said. "It is important to know what is happening in the big picture so we can know how it might affect each individual. If we don't have input from everybody at the beginning stages of the conversation, the decisions made won't be fully representative of the entire community."
Classified Senate Chair Marlene Swartz said her constituents' job duties are often directly affected by the budget.
"These budget summits are important to classified staff because a great many of them deal with financial matters as part of their job," Swartz said. "Budget transparency is helpful because it allows all of us to do our job better when we understand why major decisions are being made."
Swartz said she also is looking forward to hearing more about the shared services model, which is intended to eliminate duplication of efforts and consolidate routine processing in university service centers. The model will be designed to improve the quality of service while also reducing costs.
"I'm most interested in the shared services initiatives and how they will affect the duties of classified staff," Swartz said. "The budget crisis has led to the university considering some very aggressive money saving strategies."
To accommodate Thursday's budget summit, Classified Senate will conduct an abbreviated meeting from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Baker University Center 242. Guest speakers on the agenda include:
- Teri Combs, organizational and learning development consultant from University Human Resources, will present the latest draft of the Career Development Plan for classified employees.
- Becky Watts, chief of staff and special assistant to the president, will discuss the university's search for a new executive vice president and provost.
- Luis Lewin, chief human resource officer, will provide an update on activities involving his office.
After Thursday's budget summit, Administrative Senate will meet in Baker University Center 240 to hear committee reports. The senate also plans to continue discussion of potential health care benefits changes.