Budget update: Dec. 16, 2020

December 16, 2020

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, we held our first shared services forum on travel, procurement and proposal development. Over 150 participants watched the forum and submitted more than 20 questions. After the forum, a feedback and question form was also launched on the shared services webpage. The form is applicable to all shared services being discussed, and I encourage anyone still seeking additional information to submit a question there.

Shared services on travel was presented by Amanda Wall, associate vice chancellor for financial services (AVCFS). Amanda discussed the implementation of the Travel Customer Support Office (TCSO) and what the rollout will look like this coming spring. The TCSO is in the process of recruiting for a travel manager and finalizing the financial model and position transfer that will take place as this office begins serving UAF.

Facilities Services executive officer Kellie Fritze provided a detailed overview of the procurement shared service model that is currently operated out of the Facilities Services (FS) warehouse on Alumni Drive. If you have used the COVID-19 supply services offered through FS then you have already had some interactions with this office. The procurement service will be available to all UAF units in January 2021. Stay tuned for the launch of the new service website after the new year. 

The final shared service area was presented by the interim vice chancellor for research (VCR), Nettie La Belle-Hamer. VCR La Belle-Hamer talked about a tiger team that has been put together and led by EPSCoR principal investigator Pips Veazy. The tiger team is looking across UAF at how proposals are being developed and what services are needed in this area. The team will work closely with the VCR and university community as a recommendation is put forward by summer 2021.  

Lastly, in mid-November, I mentioned the creation of a Budget Options Task Force (BOTF) to develop some additional thinking around budget reduction or revenue options in FY22. Last week I invited a small tiger team of faculty and staff to pull together large and small budget reduction ideas (e.g., vertical cuts) and revenue sources to be considered this spring by me, the core leadership team, and the Planning and Budget Committee.

The 11-member task force, chaired by Jennifer Harris, deputy director of operations for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), commenced on Dec. 11 and will deliver a final report to me by the end of February 2021.

The BOTF will meet four to five times and generate a list of items that considers all areas of the university and the opportunity cost associated with them. As the task force gathers information, they will also work with Briana Walters, director of UAF Office of Management and Budget, to help guide the budget reduction options or revenue generation ideas they consider for the final report.

The following members make up the BOTF:

  • Bill Simpson, College of Natural Science and Mathematics

  • LaVerne Demientieff, College of Liberal Arts

  • Angie Schmidt, Rasmuson Library 

  • Kevin Illingworth, College of Rural and Community Development 

  • Jessica Larsen, Geophysical Institute

  • Kellie Fritze, Facilities Services

  • Jennifer Harris, Alaska Center for Energy and Power

  • Andres Lopez, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

  • Sandra Wildfeuer, Community and Technical College

  • Mat Wooller, Institute of Northern Engineering and the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

  • Nona Letuligasenoa, Athletics

This is the last budget column before the holidays. I hope you are able to get some quiet time and have a happy holiday.

Thank you for choosing UAF.