As the saying goes, there is good news and bad news concerning future salary increases. The good news is that the Board of Curators recognizes that the average academic salaries at UM are lower than most of our peer institutions and the Board wants to increase our average. The bad news is that we on the campuses have to come up with the money for the needed raises.
The funds starting with the 2009 fiscal year must come from cost reductions, not from increased revenues. Both the Board and state legislature are limiting any student fee increases to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). And as is usual in Missouri, any future increases in state appropriations for higher education are highly uncertain.
The Board of Curators at their April 6 meeting at UMR (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) passed the following motion:
“…that the President create an Efficiencies Account equivalent to 1% of the University of Missouri’s operating budget, to be funded by program review; prioritization; program elimination, reduction and/or consolidation; and operating efficiencies, as identified and recommended by the President and Chancellors for contribution to and funding of the University's compensation package in the coming fiscal year.”
This will require a $4.2M reduction in the General Operating budget each year beginning with the next fiscal year. Please note there is no “sunset” provision in the motion. It will be up to the Board to decide when to stop the 1% reductions.
Chancellor Deaton and Provost Foster have asked three committees to start work immediately on this large and important task. These are a 1% Academic Planning Committee that I chair, an Administrative Committee that Provost Foster chairs and the Strategic Planning and Resources Advisory Committee (SPRAC) that John David chairs. There is overlapping membership between the three committees to insure coordination.
The Chancellor and Provost have asked that we use two time horizons in our planning. The first is for the 2009 fiscal year ($4.2M reductions) and the second is a five year plan ($25M reductions).
Obviously, this is going to be a very difficult and very important task. We need your ideas as to how to make significant cost savings at MU. One rule to keep in mind is that tenure must be honored. Tenured professors cannot be fired unless there is fiscal exigency and this does not qualify as such. A couple of additional rules are: you cannot eliminate a campus, and you cannot eliminate the system administration.
We are working on a very short timeline. We must have our first year recommendation (2009 fiscal year) to the Chancellor by late May or the first part of June and our five year plan by January 1, 2008.
PLEASE SEND ME YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR COST REDUCTIONS AT MU TO (firstname.lastname@example.org) BY MAY 10, 2007.
Your suggestions may be for the first year, five years or both. All suggestions will be referred to the 1% Academic Committee for consideration.
The 1% Academic Committee members are: Robert Almony, Rachel Anderson (MSA president), Pam Benoit, Bill Bondeson, Mike Devaney, John David, Carolyn Herrington, Bill Lamberson, Mike Nolan, Jenice Prather-Kinsey, Frank Schmidt, Laura Schopp, Rebekah Hart (staff) and Rex Campbell, Chair.
Please reply today.
Professor of Rural Sociology
Chair of MU Faculty Council
Chair of 1% Academic Planning Committee