The Vermont Cynic

Clarification on new budget model


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Dear Editor,

I remain grateful for the continued interest and engagement in our transition to a new budget model. In response to the March 30, 2016 Cynic article on IBB, I’d like to provide the following thoughts and clarifications.

I, too, share concern about access, affordability, resources and the long-term financial sustainability of our institution. Indeed, this is an almost universally-held interest among colleges and universities today. I believe the best way to ensure our future is to support and enable our highest priorities around academic excellence and student success; and to empower our colleges and schools to make decisions consistent with their highest strategic priorities.

IBB does just that. It provides academic leaders in the colleges and schools with the information, tools and incentives necessary to create the best overall educational experience possible.

We’re already seeing exciting curricular innovations emerge as a result of our transition to IBB.

In the last two academic years, seven new undergraduate minors, three new undergraduate majors, three new graduate degrees, and three new certificates have been approved (or are slated for approval at the May 2016 board of trustees meeting).

As units develop and invest in programs where there is student interest, some rebalancing and redistribution of faculty will be necessary.

It has always been the case, and, regardless of budget model, it will continue to be the case that many variables (i.e., shifts in student interest and demand, new strategies, emerging priorities, available resources, etc.) play a role in faculty staffing decisions.

Changes in any of these can result in the need for more, or fewer, faculty members in particular areas.

Contrary to what was reported in the March 30 Cynic article, IBB does account for the differential costs associated with full and part-time faculty members.

It is true that IBB allocates some costs based on the number of faculty members in a unit (commonly referred to as “head count”).

This is the case for certain fixed costs that remain the same whether an individual is full-time or part-time. Other costs, driven by use, are assessed on an FTE (full-time equivalency) basis, reflecting the differential use and impact of full-time and part-time faculty.

As noted in the article, our IBB model went “live” in fiscal year 2016.

But its development and implementation has been an inclusive, transparent, thoughtful three-year process dating back to a 2012 budget self-study highlighting the limitations of the prior budget model.

The process was faculty-driven, and is fully documented on the IBB website.

The University of Vermont is committed to providing a world-class education to our students.

We will continue to invest wisely and strategically in the people, places and programs that contribute most directly to this commitment.

Our commitment to excellence and to student success is what drives decision-making at all levels and throughout the University.

Sincerely,

David V. Rosowsky

Provost and Senior Vice President

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Clarification on new budget model