Report of Senate Budget Committee Plus

Final Report: 18 March, 1998

The Task: Assuming that the future brings adjustments (of one kind or another) in the resources available to the University, what guidelines and what processes should we use to make decisions internally about resource allocation and reallocation. 

Summary:  We have recommendations:

  1. "Know thyself", that is any distribution of new resources should be directed to those units that have a well founded understanding of their students and their curriculum.  We have the raw data on the expectations and needs of students, but have not been processing the data effectively.  We need to be more knowledgeable than we currently are if we are to make wise decisions about the allocation of resources .
  2. Consult widely.  Before new resources are allocated, there should be wide consultation involving not only the Council of Deans and Senate Budge Committee, but also FAC and the Senate.  It is critical that 'ordinary' faculty be consulted, not just adminstrators, deans and department heads.


While we accept the concept of allocation of funds within the OUS may be on a "student centered" model, we doubt that it is wise to allocate funds within the institution on a per student basis.  It is impractical, divisive and would divert excessive energy into fine-tuning  yet another imperfect funding system.  The committee feels that, though budget models may be desirable for purposes of planning, they have not proven either successful or enduring, e.g., the B.A.S and Productivity models. The assumptions on which these models are based change and continue to change. Hence, though they may work in the short run to provide incentives to alter behavior, they cannot be the basis for long term planning because they tend to create artificialities.

Should new resources become available in this new "student centered" context, we recommend that the resources be allocated in such a way as to enhance the ability of the UO as an institution that deliver quality liberal and professional education.

Given that we are skeptical of budget models and as a committee are not yet sufficiently well informed to venture any suggestions about what percentage of new resources should be allocated, for example, to the physical plant and what to academic affairs, etc., what specific guidance can this committee give?

Specific Recommendations

  1. Departmental Level:
    1. Departments should review their reward and incentive system. Are there procedures, especially those governing merit allocations, that recognize and reward quality performance in the classroom?
    2. Departments should (with the help of Institutional Research Office) assess their clientele and evaluate how they can best meet their goals in delivering quality liberal and professional education. In our experience, too few departments have attempted this examination. Information on student expectations, grading, majors, etc. have not been processed or utilized effectively. Program Review has been step in the right direction, but there is still too little useful information generated to make sensible, "student-centered" decisions.
    3. As technology may well be a critical resource, departments should begin a serious study of how instructional technology can best be used to improve student learning and satisfaction. Given the limited resources we want to invest knowledgeably and effectively.
  2. Colleges:
    1. Should monitor the reward and incentive systems in the departments to insure that both research and teaching are adequately rewarded.
    2. Reward those individuals and groups that make knowledgeable decisions about their curriculum, that make effective use of pedagogical methods both traditional and technological.
  3. Central administration: a delicate balancing act.
    1. Though new resources may flow to the UO based on student credit hour production, the internal allocation must be tempered by other considerations.  Not only are there the demands of the infrastructure that do not directly generate credit hours, but there are also differences in the way units serve the needs of liberal education.   The distribution of new resources should not reduce diverisity.
    2. Differential allocations should be based on quality, but the quality should not be determined by research profile alone. Colleges and departments that can demonstrate an approach to their curriculum that is knowledgeable and consistent with the goals of liberal education should be given the priority in the allocation of new funds. This should not be construed as a demand for yet another academic plan. Rather, departments and colleges should demonstrate that their requests for resources are based on an understanding of their students, of their expectations, of educational needs and goals.
    3. "Unfunded mandates", no matter how worthy the new program, are inappropriate and demoralizing. If the central administration wishes to support a new program, it should identify the funds first and allocate only after public discussion of the options.
    4. There must be an effective system to track how new resources are used by the beneficiaries. 

Committee: Wayne Westling, Gina Psaki, Diane Bricker, Mark Reed, Jane Gordon, Paul Engelking, Pam Daener, (chair) John Nicols