October 27, 2003
Chancellor says budget planning will yield strategic
By Jennifer McNulty
The campus's budget review process will help UCSC make anticipated budget
cuts while minimizing impact on the core mission of the university,
Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood told staff during a forum on October 22.
Chancellor Greenwood, Campus Provost Simpson, and Avcor Consulting's
Scott Nostaja also updated UCSC's managers and
supervisors on the campus's many "transformation projects" during a
on Tuesday. (Slide show presented during Tuesday's meeting; printable version)
Project teams are working all over campus to streamline procedures
and consolidate purchasing in an effort to protect UCSC's core missions
of teaching, research, and public service, said Greenwood, who reiterated
her commitment to "preserving employment, not necessarily jobs"
in today's difficult budget climate.
As an example, Greenwood explained that campus outreach programs took
a 50-percent budget cut this year, which meant 28 positions were eliminated.
"But of those 28 people, only three were not placed in other positions
on campus," she said.
The campus is "deeply committed" to a preferential rehire
policy designed to give UCSC employees greater opportunities if their
current positions are eliminated, she said.
Nearly 400 people gathered in the Music Recital Hall for the first
staff forum of the academic year. Greenwood plans to meet quarterly
with staff, and the Staff Advisory Board will sponsor additional monthly
forums focused on the budget process. The first forum will be held November
5 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Stevenson Dining Hall and will focus on
human resources and the campus's time-and-attendance systems.
Greenwood noted that the campus and much of California is in a "state
of suspended animation" regarding the budget since the recall of
Gov. Gray Davis. "The university is fighting for its share of the
budget," she said, noting that higher education is an investment
that "pays back over and over again."
With the state facing a budget shortfall of at least $8 billion, Greenwood
described a best-case scenario in which UCSC's budget for 2003-04 would
be flat and a worst-case scenario that could require additional cuts
as high as 20 percent. That magnitude of cuts would require reductions
in programs, salaries, and faculty, as well as increases in student
fees and possible enrollment restrictions, she predicted.
Since 2001, UCSC has made $17 million in targeted permanent budget
cuts. Greenwood and outgoing Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
John B. Simpson have so far avoided making across-the-board cuts, in
part by launching an ambitious budget examination process coordinated
by Scott Nostaja of Avcor Consulting.
In an update on the Executive
Budget Committee's work, Nostaja emphasized that more than 700 UCSC
people participated in the group's initial efforts, and 120 people--mostly
staff--are currently working on 18 separate project teams. Most of the
teams are in the "solutions design phase" that precedes implementation,
said Nostaja, adding that a few teams will begin implementation in winter
2004 but the majority will begin in the spring.
Nostaja lauded the campus's innovative approach to dealing with the
conflicting pressures of fewer resources and growing enrollments. Layoffs
and across-the-board budget cuts are the traditional tools, but they
result in a loss of services and programs that degrades the institution's
mission, he said. By focusing first on consolidation and efficiency,
UCSC has a better chance of preserving its core mission.
On the labor front, UCSC has an average annual attrition rate of between
13 and 15 percent, or about 250 employees, said Nostaja. Coupled with
an anticipated high number of retirements in coming years, UCSC must
find ways to "leverage this opportunity," he said.
Asked during the question-and-answer session if he meant that the campus
would not be replacing workers lost through attrition and retirement,
Nostaja declined to be specific, saying the project teams hadn't yet
settled on a strategy to "take advantage of the opportunity."
Fielding other questions from the audience, Greenwood discussed the
colleges and cited the "rising national voice" for the creation
of nurturing intellectual and residential environments on university
"The colleges at UCSC continue to drive the organizing and intellectual
development of our students at the earliest stages," she said,
adding that she would like to see the "principles and purposes"
of the college program sustained into the future.
Coleen Douglas, information systems manager for University Relations,
expressed her hope that the campus would reexamine purchasing strategies
with an eye toward sustainability and the long-term savings generated
by energy-efficient equipment. Greenwood said "that's all being
looked at" in light of the budget crisis.
The campus does not plan to reduce the number of academic divisions
or schools in the wake of the announcement that Social Sciences Dean
Martin M. Chemers has been named interim campus provost and executive
vice chancellor, said Greenwood.
The chancellor deferred response to a written statement read by heating
plant specialist Daniel Young about the use of parking fees on campus,
but she did say event planners are increasing use of shuttles to transport
campus visitors rather than reserving parking spaces for visitors.
The next Chancellor's Forum with Staff will be February 18 at 12:30
p.m. in a location to be determined.
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