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Budget Process Underway for 2013-2014; Proposals Due March 25

February 27, 2013

UC Merced’s planning and budget process for the coming fiscal year is underway after the release of the official Budget Call for proposals, which are due March 25.

This year’s process marks a significant change from past practices.  In previous years, the budget planning and allocation process involved conducting several parallel courses of action. Under the new method, the processes have been consolidated to develop a more integrated funding plan, according to Budget Office Director Kathleen Jefferds.

The goals of the new streamlined process are to promote greater coordination between planning and budgeting functions, improve transparency, foster strategic resource allocation and long-term planning – particularly in light of state’s economic uncertainties over the next several years.

“It is essential that we continue to strategically utilize our limited resources,” said Daniel Feitelberg, acting vice chancellor for the Office of Planning and Budget.

As the campus’s schools and divisions develop comprehensive budget requests, they are being asked to submit their highest funding priorities while considering near-term goals and potential challenges over the next two years.  For example, the campus’s three schools are asked to prepare requests for faculty FTEs, temporary academic staffing funding and operating requests, which will provide a means to assess needs associated with bringing in new faculty -- such as space allocation and staff support -- while also determining funding needed to hire lecturers and teaching assistants.

Another change from past years: campus auxiliaries are required to submit updated business plans in order to integrate planning efforts and provide a more comprehensive financial picture for UC Merced.

As divisions and schools assemble their proposals, a list of seven strategic funding priorities will help direct and frame requests. This year’s budget priorities should:

  1. Strengthen research infrastructure
  2. Build capacity and excellence in graduate programs
  3. Respond to critical undergraduate enrollment demands
  4. Improve the student experience, academic success and retention
  5. Address faculty or staff retention challenges
  6. Promote operational efficiency of effectiveness
  7. Ensure campus safety and regulatory compliance

The priorities should be referenced in narratives that outline several requisite components of the proposals: mission statement, two-year goals and objectives, the challenges related to achieving the stated goals, specifics on the funding requests and any collaborative proposals.

A template intended to capture the budget details will be used to prepare both summary and detailed reports for the Budget Committee. In turn, the submissions will be posted on a secure site online for campus community members to review. Meanwhile, the Budget Office expects to present the templates to the Budget Committee in early April.

The Budget Committee, expanded to include all vice chancellors and school deans, also includes one Staff Assembly representative, two Academic Senate Division Council members, one graduate and one undergraduate student representative. The committee will make its recommendations to Chancellor Leland, who will make the final decisions. The chancellor indicated during a campus meeting last December that she would hold an open forum to discuss how she made her decisions.

Jefferds said this new collaborative and open process “is an opportunity for us to look across the entire campus, be fully informed and prepared for thoughtful and serious recommendations.”