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Budget Task Force Process

To:       The University Community
From:   Mark W. Huddleston, President
Re:       Budget Task Force Process
Date:   March 7, 2011

In writing to you last month about pending state budget cuts, I announced the formation of a task force to address our immediate and longer-term budget challenges. Today, I want to describe how this task force will work, and share the timeline for including the campus community in this important effort.

First, let me say I recognize that times of budget reductions are always stressful, and that this particular round, because of the magnitude of cuts the state is projecting, will be particularly so.  And I want you to know that I place a high value on keeping our decision-making process both inclusive and transparent. Therefore, it is my hope that the task force will help us meet these challenges together, with creativity, resourcefulness, hard work, and open communications.

The task force’s first assignment is to inform a report to the University System of New Hampshire on May 1, and the results will then be shared with the state Legislature on May 7. Because of the short timeline, I have asked the existing Central Budget Committee (CBC) to act as the core of the task force.  This group includes representation by faculty, staff, students, and administrators (listed below).  Its members are familiar with our budget and budget process, not least because of their role in the recent revision of Responsibility Center Management (RCM). 

Over the next 6 to 7 weeks, members of the CBC will meet with the following groups to discuss budget initiatives already underway, and to ask for ideas and suggestions:

            Faculty Senate Agenda and Finance Committees
            Operating Staff (OS) and Professional and Technical (PAT) Staff Councils
            Extension Educators Council
            Budget and Finance Planning Group (BSC Directors)
            Provost’s Council (Deans and Directors)       
            Representatives of Contingent Faculty
            Student Senate Representatives
            Graduate Student Senate Representatives
            Directors of Non-academic RC Units

There will also be one or more open meetings for the university community.  Discussions will be scheduled shortly, and will be framed around the three questions in my last message: Where should we do more? Where should we do less? What can we do better?  In addition, ideas for immediate savings will be sought.

The discussions will be set in the framework of the Strategic Plan, and will begin with descriptions of existing efforts to help us grow out of our budget constraints.  In addition, we will soon initiate a Web-based “suggestion box” that will allow you to submit your ideas anonymously.

As our community meets and shares ideas, the CBC will review each suggestion with regard to the principles in the Strategic Plan and the desire to be a responsible employer, and report out an advisory document for consideration by the cabinet and me.  Final results will be communicated in early May.

Despite the challenges ahead, I remain optimistic. In fact, our Strategic Plan was designed for the future we are now beginning to experience.  UNH will weather this challenge.  This effort provides the opportunity—constitutes an imperative—to rethink what we do and how we do it, and we will be a better institution for it.  Thank you for all you do to help us identify and realize the solutions that will make UNH a stronger and more vital institution.

Current Members of the Central Budget Committee

John Aber, Provost
Barbara Arrington, Dean
Tom Brady, Dean
Deb Bronson, IT
Dick Cannon, VPFA
Lindsay Fanning, Student Senate
Ed Hinson, Faculty Senate Chair
Peter Lane, Faculty, WSBE
David May, AVP Business Affairs
Leigh Anne Melanson, Assoc. Prov.
Michael Middleton, Faculty, Education
Fatima Muzamil, Graduate Student
Jan Nisbet, SVP Research
Dave Proulx, AVP Finance
Mark Rubinstein, VPSAS
Bill Stine, Faculty Senate Finance Committee Chair
Peter Weiler, VP Advancement
Joanna Young, AVP IT

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