I am writing to provide an update on plans to effectively manage the campus core budget for 2020-21 and beyond. As discussed at the recent Town Hall, we have managed the campus budget very well to this point, with a commitment to maintaining our workforce and prioritizing our students.
Despite a significant budget cut to the campus, UCI remains on solid ground. The majority of the state budget cut for the current fiscal year was absorbed centrally, along with modest cuts to operating budgets and a more moderate pace for faculty and staff hiring. The focus now is on preparing for 2021-22 and the years ahead. The unprecedented budgetary impacts of COVID-19 on the state and the university will likely continue for a number of years.
In Spring 2020, I convened a Budget Workgroup to evaluate activities and recommend campus budget actions to help ensure a solid budget foundation going forward. This workgroup is looking at a number of financial and organizational aspects of how we invest resources. This fall, the workgroup is convening a set of subgroups to focus on different aspects of the campus budget. The subgroups will report back to the main workgroup with their analysis and recommendations for next year and the future. Each group is populated with members from across the institution.
While the workgroup will examine expenditures and opportunities throughout the campus, I have requested that we respect four key principles to guide decision-making.
Workforce preservation — Take measures that protect jobs and avoid layoffs whenever possible;
Excellence in instruction and research — Our standing as a pre-eminent institution should not be compromised;
Embrace well-being of the UCI community — The health of our talented and diverse student, faculty and staff populations are essential;
Generate revenue — By finding ways to grow the top line, some expense cuts could be mitigated.
The areas of focus and subcommittee chairs are as follows:
Academic Planning and Programs – Bill Maurer, Chair, Dean, School of Social Sciences;
Review of Functional Areas Across Units – Ron Cortez, Chair, Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chancellor
Review of Facilities Management and Maintenance – Karl Wolonsky, Chair, Associate Vice Chancellor, Environmental and Facilities Services
Campus Space Utilization (including lease needs/obligations) – Janet Mason, Chair, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Capital Planning
Spend Management – Ron Cortez, Chair, Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chancellor
Academic Policies and Procedures – Tyrus Miller, Chair, Dean, School of Humanities
Revenue Generation – Michael Dennin, Chair, Vice Provost and Dean, OVPTL
Strategic Initiatives and Priorities – Donald Senear, Chair, Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Graduate Programs and Research Funding – Gillian Hayes, Chair, Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Education
The groups will evaluate operations and related investments in the defined areas and are encouraged to work together to identify potential cross-area opportunities. Various members of our community may be contacted by these subgroups for information and input. I would also like to invite your input, comments and suggestions. You may reach out to chairs of the relevant areas if you have suggestions or comments. You can also email me directly at email@example.com. I encourage you to participate.
Thank you for the outstanding work that you are doing in this challenging environment.
Hal S. Stern, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics