Chancellor’s Budget Updates: New Phase and Progress

October 28, 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we near the mid-point of the semester, we continue to make progress on our three-year budget plan. Your efforts have made this possible, and while it has not been easy, your collective work has made a significant impact.

In 2015-16, the first year of the plan, we reduced expenditures by approximately $31 million (M).  The goal for 2016-17 is to reduce expenditures by $8.5M from projections collected from each school, college and division in the spring. In the first quarter of FY 17, we have reduced salary expenditures by 10% and cut administrative expenses by over 20%, compared to last year.

The hard work to eliminate our structural deficit has been necessary to address imposed budget cuts, an ongoing tuition freeze, continued enrollment decline and other fiscal challenges. We will continue our efforts, which for now are largely defensive – meaning, we are not yet poised for significant investment as units continue to address operational and structural deficits.  However, a new phase of budget planning will begin as the 2017-19 budget cycle starts in January.  My goal is to develop a clear vision for building and enhancing student success and access, R1 status, and community engagement.  Working with governance and the campus overall, we will create a compelling case to grow investment in UWM and forestall reductions. You will hear more about this planning in future messages.

Strategic Position Control

The plan to reduce expenditures by $8.5M this year will be accomplished through the Strategic Position Control (SPC) process, which establishes control over hiring to produce savings. With input from the SPC Committee, savings targets for each division have been established:
•    Academic Affairs                                    $1,000,000
•    Finance and Administrative Affairs         $1,400,000
•    General Education Administration          $400,000
•    Student Affairs                                       $400,000
•    Schools and Colleges                            $5,300,000*
*includes $5,000,000 in anticipated FY 17 tuition revenue decline

Schools and colleges’ unrestricted expenditures (e.g. tuition, GPR, general operations, indirect returns, and other unrestricted funds) comprise about 70% of the total unrestricted expenditures of UWM, which was $372 M last fiscal year.  The specific savings targets for each school and college were determined by the Provost in collaboration with a faculty subset of the SPC Committee.  As noted above, the expenditure reduction targets for schools and colleges include reductions necessary due to enrollment declines and loss of tuition funding this year.

Individual SPC plans for each school, college and division are due to the SPC Committee on November 1.  The units are also being asked to prepare FY 18 plans in the weeks to follow.  Deans and division leaders will use their SPC plans to inform hiring decisions for the next two fiscal years.

Information from the SPC process including summaries of the SPC savings targets, individual unit SPC plans, and approved hires will be posted on the SPC section of the State Budget Information web site starting in mid-November.


Student enrollment for the fall is down 4.1% compared to last year. The Chancellor’s Enrollment Management Action Team (CEMAT) is implementing a Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) plan, a multi-year initiative to improve enrollment and retention rates.  Specific actions include efforts to grow enrollments from Illinois, implement enhanced advising services and scheduling tools, expand online and flex programs, and invest in graduate and high-achieving students. In addition, discussions continue to establishing a relationship with an international pathway provider that would facilitate an increase in international students on our campus in the next few years. Work is starting for UWM to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, and CEMAT leaders are managing financial aid and advising initiatives intended to improve recruitment and retention, funded with UW System one-time investments of $3.3M and $3.77M, respectively.

Budget Initiatives

The Integrated Support Services Project (ISSP) will share a recommendation for a high-level redesign of the impacted core services – Human Resources, IT, Finance, and Procurement – with a variety of campus groups in the next month.

Provost Johannes Britz continues to lead discussions on school/college alignment, with a plan from the three health schools/colleges due in December that will outline collaboration for budget, human resources, marketing, and student services.  This month all schools and colleges submitted their workload policies to Academic Affairs, which will be summarized for deans to use as a resource for administering the campus Faculty Workload Policy.  Vice Provost Dev Venugopalan and APBC Chair Hobey Davies continue to co-lead a group examining the reduction of course duplication.

The SPC Committee will make recommendations about administrative efficiency metrics and the Campus Space Planning Committee is drafting a policy on optimal space utilization.  Discussions on a new UWM Budget Model are resuming with focus on incentivizing research and the reduction of course duplication. More details about the timeline and other rollout issues will be shared in future messages.

One-Time Compensation

Providing a high quality education to our students is only possible because of your efforts. The 2016-17 faculty and staff compensation plan, utilizing one-time funding for lump sum payments, is intended to recognize your excellent work and impact. Eligible employees will receive a 1.75 percent one-time payment for solid performance, or $1,175, whichever is greater. The lump sum payments will be distributed in November payments (i.e., Nov. 1 for faculty and academic staff and Nov. 10 for university staff).  This distribution will count as income for the purposes of retirement annuity calculations.  For details on eligibility, solid performance determination, timing and other conditions of this one-time lump sum payment, please see the Lump Sum Compensation Adjustment Guidelines. The funding for the one-time payments is available due to savings in utility bills and benefit expenses.

Our work and decisions will continue to be guided by our strategic drivers of student success and access, research excellence and community engagement.  Future budget updates include:

•    Continuation of monthly budget messages;
•    Campus budget meeting on Dec. 6, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Union Ballroom; and
•    Provost Britz, FAA Vice Chancellor Robin Van Harpen and I will meet with each school, college, and division’s leaders and budget staff in Jan./Feb. 2017 to discuss fiscal updates and future planning.

Thank you for your continued dedication to UWM and our students, and I hope you enjoy the upcoming Halloween weekend.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee