UAF is facing significant, yet manageable, budget issues for FY14; however to improve its position for FY15-FY16, sustainable solutions must be implemented. Although there were modest State funding increases in FY14, these are unlikely to continue in FY15. Without managed change, UAF could face a budget gap in the range of $12-14M.
This means process management and prioritization are key areas of focus for optimizing the resources UAF already has. These conditions increase the need to understand each service unit, its make-up including staffing levels and functions, and its associated costs. Analysis of services and how they are provided is more important than ever in this climate.
The April 2010 Executive Leadership Workshop identified the need to review the process for future budget allocations. This summer and fall, two teams will examine the university’s current processes and recommend criteria for future decisions: one team for academics and research and a second team for administrative and support functions.
The initial review (results published January 2011) established baseline information regarding UAF unit staffing levels and trends (by position type), and identified some common areas of business process inefficiency that project teams have been working to improve. This Program Review has continued with regular data updates on an annual basis in 2012-2013.
In 2014, the Program Review will be expanded to more over-arching analysis regarding service provision in order to better assist with resourcing decisions. The Program Review will include direct feedback from service unit Deans or Directors with respect to organizational structure, staffing and funding levels, will consider efficiency, cost effectiveness and alignment with UAF core themes, strategic plans and initiatives.
Our scope of work will be defined by the processes. Below is an initial list of areas classified as administrative and support:
- Administrative functions such as procurement, financial services, grants and contracts, proposal office and human resources, both in central offices and within operating units;
- Deans, provost, chancellor, vice chancellors and respective support personnel;
- Support functions in development, marketing, OIT, and recruitment, both in central offices and within operating units; and
- Areas such as registration, financial aid, advising, police, fire, risk management, and facility services.
This list is not exhaustive and may be refined as the process evolves. Auxiliary operations, athletics, and academic, public service and research programs are not included in the scope of our discussions, though their administrative and support functions are.
Initial Review Process Goals
- Develop a mechanism to understand the current status for various functions.
This may include current funding and staffing levels, trend information, status of key activity indicators and ratios, benchmarking (both over time and across units), and other methods suggested by team members and functional area leads. The mechanism needs to be robust enough to provide valuable insight, but simple enough to continue on an annual or semi-annual basis.
- Develop criteria for rating importance, efficiency, and effectiveness among functions.
The criteria developed will be used to inform future resource allocation decisions. These criteria will consider operational effectiveness in light of organization risk, and compliance, and safety requirements.
- Identify common processes to implement streamline.
Given the organization-wide involvement of this review process, a byproduct will be the identification of key processes that if streamlined can improve overall administrative effectiveness. One or more focused sub-committees will be assigned to systematically streamline those processes. Achieving and documenting measureable cost savings or performance improvements is key to success on this goal.
2014 Program Review Process: Next Steps
Due to the tighter budget climate projected for FY15 and beyond, it is the responsibility of UAF leadership, staff and faculty to carefully analyze, manage and plan for future revenue and expenditure gaps. Methods to increase revenues and decrease expenditures should focus on long-term sustainability.
This analysis with respect to changes in UAF staffing, is intended to facilitate expanded Program Review beginning with leadership awareness and discussion. Staffing levels and FTE distribution is one component within the larger issues of effective resource management and program or service prioritization.
There are two mechanisms that were used in FY14 (which may be continued in FY15+) related to vacancy management as part of the plan to address the budget gap:
- Delaying hiring actions to maximize vacancy savings
- Identifying specific reductions to programs and services
Unit specific detail has been provided to each UAF Dean, Director and Vice Chancellor. This data will be updated annually, or as needed for greater in-depth analysis.