Faculty Senate Discussion

Budget Council DRAFT Report on RCM

Filed under RCM Impacts 2010-11 by salvers@ufl.edu on March 31, 2011 | 5 Comments

The Budget Council is seeking input from UF faculty and administrators towards the final report.  There will also be a presentation on the RCM report at the next Senate meeting, April 14, 2011 at 3 pm in the Reitz Union Auditorium.  We appreciate your help in distributing this draft document and in eliciting faculty feedback via the blog or in direct e-mail to the Budget Council.

Regina Bussing and James Klausner, Co-Chairs, Budget Council

5 Responses to “Budget Council DRAFT Report on RCM”

  1. The School of Natural Resources and Environment was developed through shared governance and has substantial cross-college participation, with 280 Affiliate Faculty from 14 colleges (156 from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 64 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and 12 or fewer from each of 12 other colleges).

    SNRE interdisciplinary degree programs are not small. The BS/BA in Environmental Science had 155
    students registered in Fall 2010. The MS/PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology had 136 students registered
    in Fall 2010 (95 PhD, 41 MS). These students take substantial numbers of Student Credit hours, which
    accrue to the departments where the courses are taught. The advisors of these graduate students are
    located in CALS (65%), CLAS (23%), and 7 other colleges (12%).

    RCM discourages deans from promoting the cross-college coursework of Environmental Science and
    Interdisciplinary Ecology students, since courses taken in another college are viewed as a financial loss
    to the college administering these degrees.

    RCM also discourages deans from encouraging faculty and providing funds for cross-college recruiting
    and advising of Interdisciplinary Ecology graduate students. In cases where the prospective faculty
    advisor is in a college different from the administrative home of SNRE, top-tier graduate applicants
    whose first choice is UF are matriculating elsewhere because UF seldom can offer financial assistance.
    Compared to the period before RCM, shrinkage of the Interdisciplinary Ecology program is under way.
    RCM is diametrically opposed to the way research funds are awarded in internal university programs
    (Opportunity Fund, UF research institutes) and by extramural funding agencies (for example, NSF, NIH,
    NOAA, NASA).

    In view of these facts, many faculty members view the RCM policies adopted by the university as
    contrary to their interests.

    -Steve
    Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director,
    School of Natural Resources and Environment,
    Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL 32611-6455 USA
    Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748
    http://snre.ufl.edu

  2. I oversee a research/education program in Pineland, Florida, known as the Randell Research Center (www.flmnh.ufl.edu/RRC). The significant increases in UF overhead (auxiliary; RCM) unfairly penalize programs that are remote from UF. Such programs do not receive cleaning and maintenance services from UF physical plant and must pay for their own utilities and repairs. If a program is fulfilling UF’s missions, then UF should support it at least at the level it supports on-campus programs. To do less discourages entrepreneurship in the service of UF’s missions, and hobbles any efforts to spread the influence of UF beyond north-central Florida. There should be flexibility in charging RCM overhead to remote operations, taking into account scholarly impact but compensating for real (auditable) maintenance costs.

  3. The RCM report acknowledges the negative impacts on three areas that are critical to my service at UF: service/extension, interdisciplinary programs, and Direct Support Organizations. However, the report does not offer suggestions to remedy these impacts. UF is diverse and RCM seems too narrow to preserve, nurture and enhance that diversity. RCM allocates resources based on student credit hours. Teaching is a major part of our mission, but not the only part. As a Land Grant university, teaching, research and extension must be maintained if we are to continue serving the citizens of Florida as our mission intends. From my standpoint, the report is inadequate if it does not make strong recommendations for alleviating the impact of RCM on these three areas.

  4. RCM discourages many forms of innovative transdisciplinary research and teaching. This budget model not only contradicts recent developments in many academic fields but it works against the University’s interest in pursuing funding by major funding bodies that recognize and increasingly incentivize multi-discipline and multi-institutional approaches to solving the world’s biggest problems (e.g. the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the UN/EU’s “Gendered Innovations in Science, Medicine, and Engineering project”). RCM will also make it incredibly difficult to create, as outlined in the UF Foundation Strategy Map (drafted by Thomas J. Mitchell in Fall 2010), effective programs aimed at “Preserving our Planet through Smart Energy”, “Improving Health”, “Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders”, or “Preparing Students to Meet and Compete in a Global World”.

  5. I realize there are many stings pulling on the council, but this assessment was too superficial to be of value to those seeking to make RCM work. Most particularly, there seems to be little recognition that RCM is in fact not a budget model, it is an accounting model. A unit’s budget is based on past accounting, not future predictions. In this accounting model, only SCH are counted and only for some previous period. Equally important, allocations made using past productivity in SCH are based on a theoretical “cost to deliver” model that underpins all of RCM and can be adjusted from year to year. These issues are the tip of RCM iceberg when it comes to its long range impact on our university.

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