Dear CFR Staff,
About one week ago, I wrote to the CFR faculty (copied to you) about our need to be more prudent in how we commit our limited state funds. In this memo I wish to address some issues related to how we fund a variety of the services you provide to our College community. This discussion is necessary in light of the difficult financial situation the state finds itself in at this time.
We are in the process of transforming the College.
The undergraduate curriculum transformation project is underway with expected outcomes that include increased undergraduate enrollments and CFR majors, increased efficiency in the cost of delivery, and increased effectiveness of our programs to all of our constituents. We will follow this with a similar transformation of our graduate offerings, outreach, and an examination of the organizational structure and name of the College.
We are initiating efforts to transform the financing of the College. We need to identify and develop College programs that are self-sustaining. This may involve certificate programs, evening degree programs, increased outreach activities, distance learning opportunities and/or center/cooperative activities -- to name a few possibilities. Hybrid programs involving both state and non-state dollars are also possible. We are being closely scrutinized on our research productivity, which must increase, and are embarking on activities to insure this outcome. In addition, we are continuing to focus on a development strategy that is expected to raise increased sums of funds from our donor community. All of these activities will reduce our reliance on state dollars to support our programs.
While the University and citizens of our state expect increased productivity at all levels, it is undeniable that the impending state budget shortfall will affect our support operations. It is highly possible that not all staff support activities will continue to be affordable at current levels on state funds. It is also high likely that as state budgets shrink so to will our level of service. Therefore, we need to: a) identify essential staff functions that must be maintained, b) effectuate greater efficiency in delivering essential functions, and c) as stated earlier, search out other sources of funding that may be necessary to continue essential support functions.
The Dean's Office is currently engaged in an analysis of the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of central staff functions as a part of the response to the ORT reports. As an example, efficiencies and economies in centralized financial services are expected to arise as a product of ORT-motivated decentralization efforts. Decentralizing some financial services will result in the elimination of some redundancies and in increased efficiencies in completing the business of the College. To date, remaining tasks have been redistributed - not eliminated. Pending budget cuts may require the restructuring or elimination of some services long considered necessary to College operations. As we review various operational processes to identify essential functions, you will be asked to respond thoughtfully to questions on how specific state funded CFR central service processes benefit your instructional, research or outreach activities and how a reduction in levels of service within various processes could be accommodated or would damage those activities. Your carefully considered responses to these questions will be essential to successful planning and decision-making on difficult issues affecting us all.
We all hope that the Governor and Legislature take the steps necessary to provide funds to the University that allow us to protect the quality, core values, and the vitally important programs we offer. However, to be prudent, we must also initiate the steps described above in the eventuality that state support is dramatically reduced next FY. It is my intention to maintain an open process as we move forward in these discussions. We need to ensure that whatever we do is done as fairly as possible with ample opportunity for involvement and discussion by all who care to participate. I expect that you will suggest creative ways to address our pending budget shortfall and I await your suggestions whenever you care to share them. Thank you and best wishes.
B. Bruce Bare, Acting Dean