Friday, December 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD’s budget ‘rock stars’ show others the way

By
From page A1 | August 05, 2014 |

Is there such a thing as a “rock star” in the world of budgeting?

In a recent meeting with Kelly Ratliff, UC Davis’ associate vice chancellor for budget and institutional analysis, Ratliff explained that the three-year-old budget model implemented at UCD has indeed made her staff “rock stars.”

In fact, the model — which was based on University of Washington’s budget — has gained attention from many other universities. UCD’s budget office has now shared its successes with the universities of Utah and Tennessee, Dominican University and UC San Diego, among others.

In a sit-down with the project manager for the new budget model, UCD’s principal budget analyst Jason Stewart, he explained it as follows:

“The state was cutting funding, tuition was going up,” Stewart said, and Chancellor Linda Katehi wanted a more transparent budget.

“When the chancellor made the decision to do this budget model, we didn’t know when the next cut may be coming from the state. So there was a lot of uncertainty,” Stewart explained.

So what is unique about this new way of budgeting?

The general fund for the university has always been a mix of state dollars and tuition, Stewart explained. And there wasn’t much need to know which pile of money was bigger. But in the past six years, UCD has had to shift from the state portion making up most of its budget to tuition being a greater slice of the budget pie.

Stewart said that many schools in the Midwest faced this shift years ago, so looking at their budgeting strategies made sense. Universities of “Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota all have some version of it.”

And Katehi had some experience and familiarity with models like this from her tenure at the University of Illinois.

“Essentially the chancellor said, ‘We need to be more in a position to determine our funding,’ ” Stewart said. “That was sort of her challenge … ‘We will rethink how we allocate resources at UC Davis.’ ”

The old model for UCD was “incremental budgeting … meaning you got what you got last year, and now a little more.”

From there, the UCD budget office would allocate funds to the deans, and the deans to the departments.

To make it “easier for people to understand where money is going and why,” Stewart said, a more incentive-based model was implemented.

“The incentive side of it is to get people to where they better understand where the revenue is coming from, what’s driving the revenue … then hopefully they can counterbalance cost with that,” Stewart said.

To be more specific, Stewart explained, a dean is now put in the position of knowing “if I add a (course) section of this many students that is this many credit hours, the funding will come … do I want to do that or not?”

Continued Stewart, “The whole idea is that if you know that if you do X activity, that Y revenue will flow, then you can make a decision about whether or not you want to do that activity.”

Thus far the budget office has seen “a richer dialogue between provosts and deans,” Stewart said.

Other university deans and provosts are intrigued by what UCD has done, and the “conversations range from philosophical to specifics. People ask questions like ‘Now that you’re incentivizing student credit hours, are departments creating huge classes with hundreds of students? Are they getting rid of their small classes?'”

Another concern is that “if revenue comes because of student credit hours, then people might begin to create their own brand of something … for example, writing for engineers,” Stewart said. And meanwhile, your traditional English department is being siphoned off.

But the university doesn’t want departments to chase the dollars by making up their own programs. To control for that, the Academic Senate has to approve classes, and would not, for example, allow every department to have its own brand of a writing course.

Additionally, “the provost, and by extension this office, has a role to hear the questions and concerns people are raising,” Stewart said. The budget office has spent the summer looking over data to see if there have been changes in behavior, watching to see if incentives are being taken too far.

And behavior can change in a good way, as well.

“People are still making decisions, still having conversations,” Stewart said. “You don’t push the people out of the process. What we think it does is change the conversations. We think we are seeing that at UC Davis.”

Stewart also believes a university has an obligation to “small courses that we must have, we have to have … entire departments or disciplines that need additional support that we don’t expect to just get by on their tuition.”

“We have to keep in mind how do we pay for those things, but they have value.”

— Reach Tanya Perez at tperez@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8056. Follow her on Twitter at @enterprisetanya

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    UCD, UC team up to study effects of climate change

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Teens’ goal? Helping other soccer players around the world

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    There’s a plate for you at the Davis Holiday Meal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police seek suspect in hit-and-run collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Help sought in search for runaway Davis teen

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Creative women share food, friendship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Welcome 2015 with Mumbo Gumbo at a gala bash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Willett bench is a labor of love

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

    Author! Author! UCD hosts talks, Q and A on Asia-focused books

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Blue Christmas service planned at Davis churches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Libraries will be closed around the holidays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    See diving ducks at city wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    A home for the holidays?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Nobel Prize winner will discuss research related to autism

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Explorit: Experience nano this spring

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Forum

    He needs them to pay up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Kudos to Central Park Gardens donors and volunteers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

     
    Cheers and Jeers: Have you ever seen the rain?

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Defeating Ebola involves medicine, and prayers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Cousins is back in lineup but Kings fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys hold off scrappy Rio Linda

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils rout an undefeated Liberty squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD RB coach Wright heads to Florida; what next?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Aggies nab junior college defensive lineman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Nostra-Dunning makes his college bowl picks

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Tennyson’s first goal is the difference in Sharks win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Trio elected to academy of inventors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Before Midnight’ screening is tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    DMTC plans New Year’s Eve party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    Tom Rigney and Flambeau to play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    DMTC announces auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Business

    After 19 years, Alfa Romeo returns

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A16

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics