Budget update: Sept. 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

 Last December, UAF launched an expedited administrative review process that was completed in April 2020. That process resulted in some good suggestions, including adopting a shared service model for distributed business offices. As many of you know, we are in the process of implementing shared services for some business office functions across campus. One of the outcomes from last year’s process was a request to provide input to UAF’s administrative management structure.

As a follow-up to last year’s request, and in parallel with this year’s expedited academic review, we will have an expedited administrative management review to allow for more focused input into our senior administrative structure. This review will not be about any individual senior administrator or a performance evaluation — that is the role of supervisors and Human Resources. However, in my conversations with Faculty Senate about this, I agreed with them that such a review is a healthy part of our governance process and one in which faculty and staff can contribute constructively to how UAF is administered and managed. Like last year, the committee’s report will be sent to me for review and consideration. A review process will be forthcoming.

The vice chancellors and I met today to re-review the Planning and Budget Committee proposal ranking summary from May 21, 2020, as well as the latest strategic enrollment planning projects list. Our intent is to revisit the ranking summaries to identify additional strategic initiatives and areas with cost-saving opportunities and revenue generation potential. Given the additional budget pressures in FY22 from year three of Gov. Dunleavy’s compact agreement, it is important that any new or recurring investments by UAF have a return on investment. 

UAF’s core leadership will also meet on Thursday to address the FY22 budget guidance that was sent to the provost and vice chancellors on Aug. 19 and discuss reductions in each prospective area. FY22 will be the third and final year of the compact agreement. As we look forward and plan for our future, we are focused on increasing revenues through enrollment growth and reducing costs through a footprint reduction. 

We have many aging facilities that carry heavy operations and maintenance expenses; these buildings may be considered for soft closure or demolition. Shrinking our footprint will not be easy, but it is necessary for UAF’s present and its ability to grow in the future. It is important that our on-the-ground environment is inviting and revitalized for students, and that we offer them facilities that match the cutting-edge education they receive here at UAF. 

As I look at shrinking our footprint, I will share ideas that leadership, co-workers and students are putting forward, and I encourage you to share your ideas with me at uaf.chancellor@alaska.edu.

Thank you for choosing UAF!