As you know, the university now operates on a two-year budget and time is at hand to prepare the budgets for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. During the discussions regarding university governance over the past year, the Faculty Senate recommended that we reconsider the process for developing our budget. Specifically, the Faculty Senate has recommended a return to a university-wide budget committee we employed in the recent past. The intent of the recommendation is to broaden participation, increase information and transparency and enhance accountability in the allocation and use of our resources. For a variety of reasons I believe this idea has considerable merit and with this memorandum I am authorizing the creation of a University Budget Committee.
Much has changed at the institution since a committee of this sort last functioned. Therefore it is useful to review what I consider the appropriate charge for this group, its membership and how it will relate to others involved in the development of what is likely to be the first university budget to exceed $400 million in revenue and expenditures.
The committee will be chaired by Interim Provost Broder and Vice President Myers. It will include representatives of the faculty, students and staff. The committee is now being assembled and will begin work as soon as possible to meet two key deadlines in our current budget development process. The first deadline coincides with the November 2006 meeting of our Board of Trustees and requires completion of recommendations for “budget development guidelines” for review and approval by me for submission to the Board for their action. These guidelines include recommended ranges for tuition and fees, other revenue sources and which areas of the budget should receive priority consideration, in light of the 15-point plan, during the next two years. The committee will have access to current and historical budget performance information, a status report on implementation of the current strategic plan and the views of the various campus constituencies in developing recommendations for these guidelines.
When budget development guidelines are formally approved by the board, the University Budget Committee will immediately turn its attention to development of a detailed set of recommendations leading to a proposed two-year budget based on those budget development guidelines as well as the long-standing policy of the board that we operate without a deficit. That detailed budget proposal will be submitted to me in mid-January for review. I will then submit our proposed two-year budget to the board for their review and action at their meeting on February 22 and 23, 2007. I will convene the committee following the board’s decision, review the final two-year budget and discuss the process of budget implementation, including the possibility of a continuing role for the committee itself.
In addition to its work with technical budget information about the budget, the committee will consult with vice presidents and other members of the community who bring a variety of perspectives on our current budget performance and pressing needs. To that end, I will ask the committee to organize public meetings that will allow members of the community to express their views on the best use of our resources. We study our progress as a university in a wide variety of ways and information related to the performance of the institution is and will continue to be available for review. Available comparative information from peer and competitor institutions also will be provided.
The committee will be convened shortly to discuss its charge and to begin its work. I thank the members in advance for their willingness to assume this important work.
September 5, 2006 12:12 PM
AU's strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World, outlines goals and objectives for the next decade at American University. Visit american.edu/strategicplan for more information. (myAU.american.edu login required for some documents)