Budget update: April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

In February UAF’s administrative review committee made up of staff, faculty and students began work on the expedited administrative review of all of UAF’s administrative functions. The committee’s completed report was submitted last Friday (3/27/20). The report (PDF) is available on my website for feedback through April 12, 2020. 

The review committee was charged with making a recommendation to improve the cost effectiveness of UAF administration, administrative services, and other institutional and academic support functions. During this process the committee reviewed 18 administrative offices and divisions, each providing unit reports covering core functions and services, revenues and expenditures, and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 

One recommendation that has come out of the administrative review and is echoed throughout the report and reports received from units is the development of a shared services center. This was something we were already focused on since late December when a campus call was put out for proposals. From that call we received six proposals, all with a little different focus, and all with lots of great ideas. Thank you!

Centrally we are working now on expanding the proposal ideas received and developing a hybrid model that will encompass purchasing, pro-cards, travel, human resources, and grant management, each building on the capabilities and ideas in the unit proposals. Executive Officer Nickole Conley has been working on developing a unified shared services model and should have some ideas out for comment soon.

Given our current adaptation around COVID-19 we are currently working under new state guidance. This has resulted in most functions being done remotely, with a limited number of jobs that must be done in person. A limited number of in-person jobs for which the work has been suspended have transitioned into an administrative leave status. Depending on how long the current state continues, we are working with SW HR to evaluate options for employees and supervisors related job continuity. 

Again, as we change the way we operate and continue to think about the bright future that I believe we have, we know that UAF will look different. We have an opportunity now to look forward and create the change we want. The BOR will meet on Friday April 3, for their weekly emergency board meeting as well as on Saturday, April 4 from 9am-noon to discuss our current fiscal situation. As I said in a previous communication, our approach as we move forward is to preserve our academic programs, research, and the modern student experience. That said, in order to meet the budget, we will need to transform. While shared services is a piece, I think we have the opportunity to think much more broadly in terms of our own structure, what we offer to faculty, staff and students and how those services are offered. In the coming weeks I hope to engage a UAF wide (virtual) dialogue on this issue.

Thank you for your continued support and effort as we navigate all of these changes. 

Thank you for choosing UAF. Be well.