The University Record, July 22, 1998

Academic units will reap benefits of budget increases

 

By Jane R. Elgass

Regents CantorRecruiting and retaining the best possible faculty, bolstering of academic units such as libraries and museums that contribute to the University's public culture, and enhancing the classroom environment in its broadest sense are the key elements that will be supported by an increased general fund budget this year.

Energies will be directed to these three "essential elements to build and maintain the high level of educational quality that our students and the larger society expect and deserve," Provost Nancy Cantor told the Regents at their meeting last week.

"Our faculty must be no less than superb. We must have strong libraries, museums and other institutions that solidify and enhance the shared public culture of the University. We must provide the richest possible learning environments in the classroom, where 'classroom' is defined to include all of the places where student learning takes place."

All increases in expenditures are devoted to academic units and activities, Cantor noted, with major funding priorities including faculty salaries, undergraduate education, instructional technology and the University Library. Overall, the central administration will reduce its expenditures by $2.5 million compared with last year.

The $890 million General Fund budget that was approved by the Regents includes a $41 million increase over last year, reflecting the cost of "keeping pace with the enormous growth in knowledge and the ability to use it," Cantor said.

"This requires real growth in expenditures--growth beyond merely keeping up with the cost of living. The reason is straightforward: every year the world gets more complicated and more interesting, and the set of things that we must understand and explain grows commensurately," she said.

This year's budget, Cantor explained, gives life to the University's mission of realizing "the full potential of a great university in undergraduate education." As a research university with a full range of professional schools, the U-M offers an undergraduate education with a breadth and quality that can be matched by only a few other institutions.

These factors enable the University to "enhance our undergraduates' educational experience by exposing them to the highest-level application of knowledge and its use in the public interest," she noted.

To prepare students for tomorrow's world, Cantor and President Lee C. Bollinger emphasized three areas in building the budget:

• Building a diverse environment that enables students to experience and be comfortable in dealing with the widest possible variety of people, ideas and modes of thought.

• Incorporation of information technology as an essential part of students' educational opportunities.

• Experience collaborative work, which has become an essential of learning and success in the broader world.

"To provide the best education that we can, all of these areas of educational expansion must be shared with our students by a superb faculty," Cantor noted. "For a great university, there is no conflict between teaching and research. Only faculty that is engaged in the most innovative research and creative production can do this job, because that is the kind of faculty that has the advanced knowledge that our students need."

 

Faculty salaries

The University starts "from a position of substantial risk" with respect to faculty salaries, Cantor told the Regents, noting that full professors, on average, are paid about $10,000 less than those at peer institutions. "We often lose people we desperately want to keep. Over the most recent three-year period, for example, LS&A faculty who received outside offers were offered an average of 45 percent more than we were paying them."

To begin to bring faculty salaries more in line with the rest of the academic community, a special program has been budgeted in several units to reduce the risk of having their strongest faculty vulnerable to outside offers.

In addition, most of the schools and colleges hope to mount faculty salary programs of 4 percent or more, "simply in order to keep up with the growth in faculty salaries nationwide."

 

University Academic Units

In line with the administration's priorities, a new group of units has been identified. "University Academic Units" enhance the intellectual and creative life of the University as a whole but are not a part of a particular school or college. The group currently includes the University Library, the Bentley and Clements libraries, the Museum of Art, the Media Union and the Arboretum.

These units are budgeted as academic units, and their budgets are set according to academic policy.

 

University Library

The University Library will receive an increase of slightly more than 10 percent, with Cantor noting that "it will require relatively rapid funding increases for a number of years to come."

"For now and for at least the next few years, we are caught twice: on the one hand, the price of scholarly publications continues to rise, and as a major research and teaching library we have no choice but to maintain strong and expensive collections. At the same time, the University Library is at the forefront of developing digital collections, and of supporting the kind of electronic publishing that offers some hope for reduced acquisitions costs in the future."

Strengthening the Library, Cantor noted, also helps two other priority areas--faculty quality and quality of the classroom experience. A library with comprehensive collections and helpful staff is considered essential by many faculty and plays a key role in recruitment and retention. Students also need access to comprehensive collections and sophisticated information retrieval methods.

"It is the library system that serves as the University's center for these resources," Cantor said. "This investment, like those made in other facets of our shared public culture, is one that we are confident will repay us handsomely."

 

The classroom

A number of initiatives throughout the schools and colleges enhance students' educational experiences within and outside the traditional four-walled classroom, along with providing them with a sense of community.

"The budget is focused on providing these program expansions and to staffing them with the quality of faculty and support staff that are essential to their success," Cantor said. Among the areas of focus are:

• LS&A first-year seminars, which enhance the quality of the educational experience.

• The College of Engineering's recently implemented Curriculum 2000 increases the involvement of senior faculty in first- and second-year teaching while incorporating several themes--collaborative work, environmental implications of technology and industry, ethics and communication skills--into a set of integrated first- and second-year courses.

• The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the Summer Research Opportunities Program, which currently make it possible for 750 students to work with 475 faculty members. While most of the students are from LS&A, much of the work is done in laboratories in the Medical School and School of Public Health, as well as most of the other professional schools.

• Theme semesters, such as the tremendously successful Environmental Theme Semester that saw participation by thousands of students. As an experiment in collaborations among a number of units, this approach will be repeated.

• LS&A is embarking on an ambitious plan to incorporate technology across the curriculum, involving hardware upgrades in classrooms, training faculty to develop and use Web-based and even more advanced instructional methods, and continuing support for these activities as the technological environment continues to evolve.

• Several programs led by senior faculty help provide students with a sense of participation in a community. These include living-learning programs that bring educational activities into the residence halls and the Center for Learning through Community Service.

 

Administrative reforms

This year will see the implementation of a process to evaluate central administrative units that is expected to take three or four years overall. The campuswide Advisory Committee on University Budgets has developed a set of guidelines to guide the evaluations, which are designed to define the units' missions and make certain they are being funded and staff in a manner that supports the missions. "The purpose of the reviews," Cantor noted, "is 'right-sizing,' not 'down-sizing.'"

The elimination of activities in the Business and Finance Division that were supported by nearly

$4 million in general funds and economies in the Office of the Provost will result in a 3 percent decline this year in the budgeting of activities in these two units.

"The entire central administration, including all the areas administered by the executive officers, will reduce expenditures by $2.5 million," Cantor noted. "The savings represent a continuing reallocation from administrative to academic areas, and also reduce the pressure on tuition increases."

 

General fund and tuition

The General Fund relies largely on state appropriations and tuition revenues, and pays for teaching, research, library services, scholarships and fellowships, and the maintenance and operation of physical properties, among other things.

The year's state appropriation was increased by $8.9 million. However, the state lengthened the payment time from nine months to 11, resulting in a loss of $1.5 million in interest income for the University.

Under the new budget, tuition will rise by 3.9 percent for all undergraduates, upper and lower division, resident and non-resident, as well as most graduate students. LS&A students also will be assessed a $30 per term fee to support integration of technology across the curriculum.

 

 

U-M Ann Arbor Campus General Fund Budget

FY 1998-99 ($ in thousands)

Restated FY97-98 Budget

Recommended Change

Rec. FY98-99 Budget

Revenues

State appropriation

314,539

8,945

323,485

Tuition and Fees

423,201

22,094

445,295

Infrastructure Maint. Fee

13,872

179

14,051

Indirect Cost Recovery

85,009

10,232

95,241

Interest Income

6,000

(1,500)

4,500

Other

6,354

1,426

7,780

Total Gen. Fund Revenues

848, 975

41,376

890,351

Expenditures

Architecture & Urban Plan.

6,172

393

6,565

School of Art & Design

4,220

740

4,960

School of Bus. Admin.

33,405

1,622

35,027

Dental School

19,883

816

20,699

School of Ed.

11,016

575

11,590

College of Engineering

77,379

4,820

82,199

School of Information

5,401

(108)

5,293

Div. of Kiniesiology

3,163

983

4,146

Law School

18,126

807

18,933

College of LS&A

157,776

7,369

165,145

Medical School

54,754

6,463

61,217

School of Music

16,465

657

17,122

School of Nat. Res. & Env.

5,885

1,129

7,014

School of Nursing

8,087

458

8,546

College of Pharmacy

6,226

241

6,467

School of Public Health

15,526

1,255

16,781

School of Public Policy

2,834

350

3,184

School of Social Work

10,987

1,913

12,899

Rackham Graduate School

6,301

503

6,804

University Academic Units

32,217

3,322

35,539

Research Units

6,081

1,545

7,626

TOTAL ACADEMIC UNITS

501,903

35,853

537,756

TOTAL AUXILIARY UNIT

(276)

48

(228)

President

1,296

26

1,322

Exec VP Acad. Aff. & Prov.

40,538

(208)

40,330

Exec VP & CFO

157,177

(2,987)

154,190

VP Development

8,961

811

9,771

VP & General Counsel

1,821

82

1,904

VP Research (supp. units)

11,795

32

11,826

VP Student Affairs

8,130

260

8,390

VP University Relations

4,052

(361)

3,691

Sec of the University

431

(155)

276

TOTAL EXEC OFF. UNITS

234,200

(2,499)

231,701

OTHER CENTRAL ACCTS

116,204

4,918

121,122