CCOET Primary Team meeting notes, October 28, 2015

The meeting began with a recap of the listening sessions. Members discussed that the sessions were useful and helped clear up some confusion.

In the next few weeks, we are going to begin to have a better understanding of the elements of our budget and the cuts we are facing. The support team is facing this issue by throwing themselves at an issue and presenting us (the primary team) with the information they came up with to review.

One of the issues raised from our colleagues was that we have very little time to react. Some things that we should try to move forward before the February deadline to Chancellor:

The support team produced a list of potential cut categories that we will look at today to see if we can add anything to it to ensure that everything is on the table. We are also going to take it one step further. We will start looking at what is on table and strategically what are the best areas to concentrate on over the next couple weeks. We need to discuss the areas and figure out which areas will produce the maximum bang for our buck. We need to narrow down our decisions to go back to support team so they can start putting numbers on items to see if it makes sense.

The discussion then moved to the below hypothetical list that the support team came up with:

  1. Graduate School – $2 million
  2. 3-2 Teaching Load – $4 million
  3. Global Inclusion & Engagement
  4. Space Planning – $1.1 million
  5. Centers, Institutes and Offices – $8 million (We can’t get rid of centers funded by a gift).
  6. Mergers – $20 (May not have immediate savings, but may have long term savings if someone leaves the dean position for example. Right now if dean is a faculty member, the savings is the difference between the dean salary and the tenured faculty salary).
    1. CEAS & SFS & NS & SARUP
    2. CHS & ZSPH & CON
    4. SOE & HBSSW & SS
    5. LUB & SOIS
    6. L&S is distributed
  7. Campus Administration (Is there any way to share/combine support services to students?)
  8. Student Cultural Centers (Focus on inclusive excellence rather than advising, which should be brought back to the colleges).
  9. Opportunities to go paperless
  10. Integrative services
  11. Credit Hours per FTE instructional staff
  12. Course scheduling & scheduling of classroom spaces
  13. Furloughs
  14. School of Continuing Education reform

There were some additions from the suggestions of people who read last week’s meeting notes.

  1. University Relations
  2. Foundation and Alumni Associations
  3. Innovation Campus

The primary team discussed how everything is on the table and everything should be discussed. There are no protected areas on this campus.

The budget planning task force (BPTF) recommendations were then discussed.

(Suggestion 1) How will the BPTF recommendations affect our proposal? (Response 1) Their cuts are on a smaller scale, individual units, to see how they can trim a little bit here/there to reach the overall goal. BPTF didn’t get into the structural deficit at all. They looked at budget cuts for this academic year and the 2nd year of the biennium.

It was noted that the BPTF suggestions probably won’t affect the CCOET’s suggestions too much, the CCOET’s actions may supersede those of the BPTF.

The list was then discussed and some revisions and mergers of ideas developed.

Some more discussion developed about the list.

It was noted that there are certain things we need to run the institution that are federally mandated, so we need to make sure that we understand the functions of each thing.

We also need to see where we can achieve major savings in a feasible fashion, we don’t really have any low hanging fruit here. We have already cut substantially. We will dig down into each item eventually, but we want to first target our attention to certain areas where we think there is a good area to save money.

Number 5 on the list was discussed: It was brought up that L&S is already looking at budget cuts associated with state legislature and they are already looking at the structural deficit with the goal of cutting $15 million over 3 years. They have been looking at everything, including centers where they expect to capture $1-2 million dollars. In fact, L&S’s goal is that by the end of the semester they will identify $5 million to cut from next year’s budget and by the end of the academic year, to identify $15 million to cut. They will look at areas to save money, to go from a cost activity to a revenue-generating activity. There was caution about cutting centers for students. Even if that center isn’t earning money and may not be used by many, sometimes that is the point of the centers. Some centers are there for people who are not the majority. We shouldn’t get rid of those things that are supporting people on campus who need it.

L&S is also looking at a shared services model to address staffing issues. They are doing assessments of work flow and are splitting people between departments and program front offices. They are trying to see if the function of the support staff can be assimilated by the front office of major departments.

The co-chairs noted that we will need to factor in some of the cuts that L&S is implementing because they will affect some of the things CCOET will do.

The support team will be looking at any line item in WISDM of department profiles that is not tuition grant revenue, is less than 1000 credit hours a year, and revenues by department profiles that are less than 50% of the expenditures. We will see if they are worthy of further investigation

Number 6 on the list was discussed:

If we are going to combine things, we should combine schools and colleges that have some similarities. Initially there are savings with dean salaries, and then there are longer-term savings of restructuring departments and programs. We have to not hire faculty after they retire, share teaching loads, etc. The amount of money that can be saved is all over the place. It is up to this committed to decide if we want to investigate this further. For example, take a statistics course, there are a vast number of them because each unit wants to have a slightly different flavor based on the degree. If those classes are all merged, there would be less incentive to teaching 2 smaller stats courses as opposed to 1 larger course. There is a lot of interest in this on campus, which is good. We should definitely leave this on the list, maybe not keep all of the same groupings, but it is something that we can look into. Also, unless a dean is earning a substantially higher salary, we won’t save much money by removing a few deans. The way to think about this is: it’s not the way the current schools and colleges are configured, but rather pieces within schools and colleges that need to be refigured. This needs to be a broader discussion beyond a discussion of the deans. (Suggestion 2) Savings aren’t really going to come from administration changes when it comes to merging, the real power is in programs. For example, we have lost bioscience faculty over the last 10 years, a fair number of them had significant interest in water. Freshwater Sciences doesn’t have an undergraduate program right now, if we moved SFS into L&S, that would help them develop an undergraduate program and save money. We are generating revenue with a strong program for Bio Science and Freshwater Science. Plus, we wouldn’t need to hire faculty. We can achieve the same results without structural re-organization. On the curricular side, we can save some money by combining programs.

Number 7 on the list was discussed:

(Suggestion 3) It would be very symbolic if the top 20 highest paid administrative positions took pay cuts that added up to $1 million. People are skeptical about CCOET. CCOET’s actions will be looked at very closely; we seem like a top heavy group (administration) we need to be more transparent in what the administration costs are. We also don’t need to pay consultants, because it is the administrators’ jobs to make tough budget decisions.

Just as a note, over the years, the salaries were increasing to compete with salary levels outside of the University.

One recommendation coming from the CCOET is that senior administration hires will go on hold for 2 years and the positions will be filled interim, from within.

Number 2 on the list was discussed:

I have a problem with a mandatory 3-2 teaching load. Some schools are running 3-3, some 2-1. We need to have a discussion of fairness of the issue. The difficulty of imposing 3-2 in next two years would be devastating for morale. We could start at a 3-2 but we could back it up to a 2-1 if someone is bringing in that kind of research or if someone is contributing administratively. We need people to capture the tradeoff of contributions. There should be some accountability for how you are justifying that person’s teaching load. There is real value in having a conversation on this. But a 3-2 teaching load is not conducive to a research university.

We need to talk about it in terms of a time frame, otherwise we will lose strong scholars. We should also be sharing tools we are developing to help us. For example, it is a difficult situation to compare people. L&S has been trying to develop a workload calculator and it is near completion. We would love to share it, the intent here is not for the deans to use the calculator; it is a tool for the department chairs.

Number 8 on the list was discussed:

The student cultural centers do advising that is separate from academic advising. The idea here is to separate the advising in the cultural centers from other center components, advising would go back into the schools and colleges. (Suggestion 4) Part of the reason we have student cultural centers is to have adults there to advise and support students. Taking resources out of those areas is a bad idea. (Suggestion 5) A new national model being explored in Student Affairs right now. It really does away with stand-alone front offices. So it would keep functions, but it would be more of a physical reorganization. So instead of every group having a library, there is a library with all the resources together with sections within. And instead of individual offices, there is a meeting room for each of the centers. It really serves students that are exploring multiple identities and cross-exploring, while the programs are more collaborative.

Number 13 on the list was discussed:

There was a discussion that furloughs would hurt morale, but there would be savings of a million dollars for every day of furlough. Furloughs really become a short-term tool. (Suggestion 6 from a university staff guest that was in attendance). I have been working on the numbers of this furlough idea. I understand the implications of this idea, but there are actually a lot of people on campus who are support this. Actually shutting down the campus for winter break, about 2 weeks depending on the year. It would be about $7 million in a year in savings like this year with Christmas and New Year’s during the week, including the day after Thanksgiving as well. But in other years, it could save up to $11 million dollars in a year. I know that there are some things that can’t close due to research and experiments, but the vast majority of the campus could close. Or maybe ask what staff might volunteer for this. (Response 6) This idea is very interesting. Otherwise, we could call them green days, where facility plants are closed, the temperatures are turned down, there is still potential to save a lot of money there, as a last resort.

While people liked this idea, there was discussion about the amount of physical plant/facilities/maintenance work that gets done when the campus doesn’t have as many classes, as well as the fact that furloughs would be mandated for people with lower salaries on campus, which is a little scary for them.

Number 17 on the list was discussed briefly:

We not only need to look at Innovation Campus, but we need to talk about all properties that we have, they all should be on table.

Number 1 on the list was discussed briefly:

Clarification: The Graduate School is on the list but it is not to get rid of programs, it is to look at the administration that seems to be repeating activities.

Discussion moved on to hiring of open positions.

As people leave, the responsibilities don’t go away, but now units will have to make the case as to why that position should be bought back, why it is essential. (Suggestion 7) We already have to justify our hires to our dean, why do we have to justify it to the provost? (Response 7) This is to be totally transparent, so we know why people are here and everything is fair. This is a way to say we are going to be upfront with all of this, there are no back deals and the rationale has to be upfront first. (Suggestion 8) If we do something like this, every hire made should go first to the dean and then to the provost for approval. (Suggestion 9) I really like this for the 2 year period. It makes it so that right now we stop the slippage. Things are still going on and people are not realizing that the budget situation is real. It’s not just like it was 2 years ago anymore. I think that message needs to get out there. (Suggestion 10) If we do this we have to educate people on how we hire people and what fund sources are used to pay for them. Right now, there is not a full understanding of segregated fees, and we need to educate people of different funding strings. There might be some hires of positions that are full funded by segregated fees. Those positions are arguably justifiable because we can’t cut segregated fees from the budget. (Response 10) We are trying to explain this, and we need to put numbers on this for perspective.

Clarification was given on position control; it doesn’t mean we don’t hire anyone, but it means that we have to have consistency of criteria. If we are adding enrollment in nursing, then, this is a way you will be able to justify new recruitment in nursing. It should be about the criteria that are met equitability. We need to adopt policies that are general to all schools, colleges, committees, divisions, etc.

The note that was developing from this meeting is being sent to support team, and then we will vote on it in the next meeting to see if we can start making recommendations.

We will also be getting numbers from the support team from the list we worked on today.

The co-chairs ended the meeting by reminding everyone that meetings are open to everyone. The next topic will be: Balancing teaching and administration within the budget: What is the appropriate proportional mix?

The suggested budget savings area list now looks like this:

  1. Teaching load
  2. Centers
  3. Mergers
  4. Campus administration
  5. Furloughs
  6. Properties off campus
  7. Integrated services
  8. Graduate school