June 24, 2024

Budget Update

I write today to keep you informed about our efforts to balance the 2014-2015 internal operating budget.  As noted in my previous message of June 17, this exercise has become necessary due to the impact of the state budget for UMW. In order to close the gap, we need to identify $1.5 million in savings.

My Cabinet and I met for several hours on Wednesday to determine how to address our projected state appropriation shortfall.  We ruled out the immediate use of the recommendations from the Strategic Resource Allocation reports; primarily because we could not close the budget gap by doing so.  We also ruled out the need for layoffs or use of a university-wide position freeze, actions previously utilized by the university when faced with a similar situation.  However, on a case-by-case basis, we may find it necessary to freeze some vacant positions.

Ultimately, we determined that the best way to achieve the goal is to assign budget reduction targets to each Cabinet member’s area, proportional to that unit’s share of the total university budget.  Specific plans on how each unit will achieve its target are due to me next month.

I assure you that we will complete this exercise in a thoughtful manner that will seek to minimize any negative impact and that will continue to support the essential core mission and priorities of the university.  I am extremely disappointed that this situation has suddenly been thrust upon us (as well as all of public higher education in Virginia).  I am particularly troubled that anticipated state funds that would have supported a modest salary increase for faculty and staff are not forthcoming.  Nevertheless, I thank you so much for your patience and loyalty to UMW and for working with us as we move through yet another difficult time.


Strategic Resource Allocation Reports

To the Campus Community:

The reports from both strategic task forces are in. They arrived on my desk late last month, and now I would like to make them available to you. All of us should take time during the summer months to review the results.

I will repeat what I have said numerous times: We will not make unilateral decisions about the closing of programs or the elimination of operations at this time.

The reports from the task forces do contain numerous recommendations, and I will remind you that they are ONLY that – recommendations. We will continue to vet these recommendations by consulting with members of the campus community. Beginning immediately and continuing into the fall semester, Provost Levin or Vice President Pearce will be available to any academic department or support unit that requests a meeting. In addition, as previously announced, we will conduct a series of open forums early in the fall semester, and we will also establish a web page on which members of the campus community will be invited to submit comments.

As indicated in my message yesterday about a budget reduction, I will look to the recommendations in these reports, excluding those involving potential program closures or other elimination of operations, as we review cost reduction scenarios in the days ahead.  Some of these decisions will need to be made soon.  I expect to make other decisions based on task force recommendations before the end of the fall semester, after members of the campus community have had a chance to respond. Beyond that – and more important – many observations and recommendations in the two reports will help inform our next strategic plan. Discussion of how that planning process should proceed is now under way.

The reports have been posted to the Strategic Resource Allocation intranet site (http://taskforce.umw.edu/wp-login.php?redirect_to=%2F). In order to access the site, you must provide your network login. To access the reports, click on the tabs “Academic Task Force” and “Support Task Force.””

I cannot thank enough the members of both task forces. These individuals have devoted countless hours to this process, which I am confident will prove invaluable to the University’s continued forward momentum.  Please join me in expressing our sincere appreciation to the following members of the two task forces:

Academic Task Force – Rosemary Barra, Jason Davidson, Steven Davies, Brooke Di Lauro, Beverly Epps, Steve Greenlaw, Dana Hall, Liane Houghtalin,  Dave Kolar, Ken Machande, Venitta McCall, Marjorie Och, Allyson Poska (co-chair), Marie Scheckels, and Chuck Whipkey (co-chair)

Support Task Force – Lavar Edmunds, Golda Eldridge, Jackie Gallagher (co-chair), Christie Glancy, Ginny Irvin, Sabrina Johnson, Jason Kilby, Leslie Martin, Allyson Moerman, Andy Rush (co-chair), Ranjit Singh, Jay Sullivan, Suzanne Sumner, and Mark Thaden.

Much thanks, as well, to members of the facilitation team – Virginia Ashley, Les Johnson, Paul Messplay, Marty Morrison, Paula Wilder, Julie Smith, and Matt Wilkerson.


Update on Budget

To the UMW campus community:

I am certain that many of you have followed the recent budget deliberations taking place in Richmond. It now appears that the state will have a biennial budget in place before the end of June, which will avoid the possibility of a government shutdown. While that is long-awaited good news, recent State revenue projections for the last quarter of this year (April 2014 – June 2014) and for next year (July 2014 – June 2015) show a significant downturn from previous projections. In response, lawmakers have eliminated new funding for all state colleges and universities for next year, including proposed salary increases for state employees. On the positive side, the General  Assembly is not reducing our budget; instead, legislators are holding higher ed allocations at the same level as the current year.

For UMW, that means certain expenditures – unavoidable increases for utilities, leases, contracts, employer retirement and health insurance contributions; as well as costs associated with new initiatives, such as the BSN degree completion program and enrollment management – will have to be met primarily within existing resources. To secure those resources, the University will have to undergo a budget reduction exercise.

Due to the immediate and significant impact of this situation, budget reduction decisions will have to be made within the next two weeks. The recently completed reports from the two Strategic Resource Allocation committees will serve as a valuable reference, but I can assure you that we will not unilaterally make any decision that involves the closing of programs or operations. Tomorrow, you will receive a message explaining how to access the reports of our two Strategic Resource Allocation task forces.