Faculty Senate Discussion

2012-2013 Budget

Filed under 2012-13 Budget by salvers@ufl.edu on March 12, 2012 | 18 Comments

5-18-2012

President Machen spoke with the Faculty Senate on March 15 and April 12, 2012, to invite comments about UF’s budget for next year. He will be meeting with faculty again on this topic at an Open Faculty Forum sponsored by the Faculty Senate at 10am-12n on May 29 in McCarty C100. This will be the last opportunity for faculty to advise the president on the university budget before the final university proposal is taken to the Board of Trustees for approval at their June 7-8 meeting.

All faculty are encouraged to review President Machen’s budget presentations at these meetings, and contribute your ideas by adding a comment below.

To post a comment, scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Add a Comment” and click on “You must be logged in to post a comment”.

Please note that comments are invited here as a fact-finding process, and that debate of issues that might come before the Senate are reserved for public meetings. Accordingly, independent statements are encouraged, but not replies to other comments. Since comments are routed through the Faculty Senate office, there may be a brief delay before your comment is posted.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

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3-12-2012

President Machen will address the Faculty Senate at 3-5pm on March 15, 2012 in the Reitz Union Auditorium. During his report, he will be speaking on UF’s budget for next year.

As you may know, the legislature passed its budget last week with cuts to higher education, together with the differentiation bill that would allow UF more control over tuition. These are not yet law, since they require the governor’s approval. However, since these issues could have significant implications for UF, the president will update the faculty on the current situation.

All faculty are encouraged to review President Machen’s budget presentation to the Faculty Senate, and contribute your ideas by adding a comment below.

To post a comment, scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Add a Comment” and click on “You must be logged in to post a comment”.

Please note that comments are invited here as a fact-finding process, and that debate of issues that might come before the Senate are reserved for public meetings. Accordingly, independent statements are encouraged, but not replies to other comments. Since comments are routed through the Faculty Senate office, there may be a brief delay before your comment is posted.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

18 Responses to “2012-2013 Budget”

  1. Despite the extent of discourse on the budget issues we face for next year, it seems there are still some significant issues that bear more discussion. I would include the following:
    1. What role is the UFRF playing in addressing our budget needs?
    2. Is it really the best policy for the University to pay “cash” for buildings at a time when recurring funds are under such pressure and borrowing costs are so low? For example,the University is apparently committed to paying for any shortfall (relative to donations) for the new undergraduate business building so that construction can begin next year. Are these and other building-donation-matching viable for offsetting operating costs next year, now that PECO is not providing these funds?
    3.Is maintenance of the FEO program more important than preserving the current level of staffing for support and instruction at the University overall?
    4. Most all units (support and instructional) are being requested to reduce expenditures by ~5%. This across-the-board approach still leaves UF with a seemingly high administrative overhead. Overall, the administrative costs exceed 50% of the total instruction-based revenue of the E and G budget. Is this an appropriate level?
    5. According to the President, we have added 105 new endowed professorships in the last few years. Because endowment income does not pay for the actual salaries or benefits of these faculty, these hires probably cost the University in excess of $15M in recurring costs. Is pursuit of these positions in our best interest short-term, or even long-term? For example, is it academically beneficial to have such low cohorts of assistant professors, independent of the fact that they likely represent ~1/2 the cost of an endowed professorship?
    6. The legislature only provides a 20% premium in general appropriations for every graduate FTE compared to an undergraduate FTE. The internal premium reaches >30x. Is this sustainable or desirable in light of the tuition cost of a Ph.D. at UF compared to our peers? FYI, the tuition cost of a Ph.D. at UF (90 SCH) is higher than most of our commonly cited peers such as Ohio St, UNC, Minnesota, Indiana, etc.

    All crises represent opportunities and I believe our current crisis represents an appropriate time to sort through some of these and similar issues that are not really college-level, but university-level, issues.

  2. UF has some of the hardest working and most committed faculty I have seen. Part of the ability to work at such high levels requires balancing all aspects of our individual health. The Living Well Program is one of those small things that the University can keep in order to maintain long-term positive contributions from its faculty and staff. Keep Living Well Alive!

  3. I realize that the College of HHP is suffering along with everyone else in the current budget crisis, but I am dismayed to see Living Well on the chopping block. I rely on exercise for both my mental and physical health, as do many other Living Well-ers. I can’t believe that sacrificing such a beneficial program to meet a current need is really is the long-term interest of UF. From my (admittedly very limited) experience with budget issues, once something has been cut it is very difficult to find the money to fund it again in the future. I understand that HHP may no longer be able to foot the bill, but please don’t allow Living Well to be lost.

  4. ira@ufl.edu says:

    Cuts in Living Well Funding Solved!
    1. The $80,000 cost of running the Living Well facility can be easily solved by removing the present director. Almost all of the costs over and above member fees go to the director. The Director can be easily replaced with only two assistantships (responsible to a faculty committee) to take her place. This change would allow the member fees to cover the Living Well budget. An assistant has run the facility between hiring of replacements, and that has worked. I believe that Living Well members would also be amenable to rise in their $330. dollar annual fees.

    The current Director would not be missed due to her dictatorial administrative style and the actions she has taken (like giving away fitness equipment) that have alienated the faculty members. The current membership re-enrollment rate has dropped under her tenure to 55%.

    2. The Living Well Facility should be placed under the auspices of another university entity. Although the previous Dean of HHP was supportive of the facility and is still an active member, the current Deanis not supportive, and has removed spaces (used for fitness classes), and has approved the removal of much of its equipment. He has tried to close Living Well and will do so in the future. Yet, Living well has been an integral required part of many HHP programs, and has been used continuously by HHP faculty for research.

    Most of the members of Living Well do not come from the HHP College so it is unfair that HHP pay for all the facility. The University entity that takes over the Yon Hall facility, should inherit its space and its equipment.

    3. Although the Univ. of Florida has one of the finest Athletic programs in the nation and numerous student facilities, Living Well is the only facility for its administrators, faculty and staff. Keeping them healthy and performing well is good business.

    The Gainesville Sun newspaper has put the living Well potential closing on its front page, and I believe that the national media would run with this story of how the University treats the health and fitness of it employees.

  5. If enacted, the proposed cut to the Living Well Program is a disservice to the faculty and staff. In addition to the often quoted benefit to the health and well-being of the faculty and staff, it also provides a training and a research facility to the students and the faculty of college of health and human performance. Another important but not often mentioned service that it provide is that it gives a space to exercise to our older retired colleagues whom might not be comfortable in any other fitness centers in town.

    It is important to note that some of the members of the Living Well are current and retired members of the college and I do not believe that their service, expertise and advice is tapped. I believe that creating a faculty/staff advisory committee to address the long term viability of the program would be immensely helpful. I would also like this committee to advice on the budget and the operations of the program since it seem like some of the recent decisions are somewhat arbitrary (for example, painting a wall when the equipment are in dire need of repairs). As a cost cutting move, I recommend that one salaried person oversee the entire operation.

  6. I have been a member of the Living Well Program for approximately one year. Working out there daily is a great way to start my day. The program is conveniently located on campus and allows many faculty the opportunity to fit in a workout that they otherwise could not fit into their day. The students-staff there are fantastic! Please take into consideration how many UF employees will be affected if funding for this relatively inexpensive program is cut from the budget.

  7. The proposed reduced budget for the College of Health and Human Performance includes cutting funding for the existing LIVING WELL PROGRAM that serves faculty and staff campus-wide. I have been a member of this program for 1 year and have found it to be a wonderful venue that provides wonderful exercise programs and opportunities to meet faculty and staff whose home departments are widely scattered across UF. UF has recently made strides toward improving employee health by banning smoking on campus and recognizing faculty and staff through the Healthy Gator Program that exemplifies UF’s interest in promoting exercise and health among faculty and staff. The current members of Living Well are passionate about this program and are willing to work hard with UF’s administration to insure that it survives the current budget problems we are all facing and grows into a flagship program for faculty and staff health and fitness in the future. I am certain that if allowed to do so, the membership, who are a very resourceful group, can find solutions to the current fiscal situation.

  8. henk@ufl.edu says:

    This concern the THREATENED CLOSING OF LIVING WELL.

    This facility, administered by the College of HHP, is unique in that it serves ALL UF faculty and staff, NOT JUST of that College. It has been in existence since at least 1979 when I joined UF.

    I and so many of my UF Faculty colleagues are using it at least three times a week. And so it has been for my thirty-three years at UF.

    We all came to depend on it for our physical and mental sanity, enabling us to do our UF duties better than without these regular exercises (work-outs, running etc.). LW is so perfectly located near the center of campus.

    For a few years now we pay a membership fee. We understand that some costs have to be covered, so most of us do this gladly.

    If the UF administration has still the intent to maintain a healthy and optimally performing Staff and Faculty, then I urge it to find a way to find the $80,000 apparently needed to run Living Well. Here are some suggestions:

    1. have this $80,000 shortfall be shared equally by all UF Colleges (including the Medical ones); this will amount to less than $7,000 per college

    2. require of Living Well’s Director a MASSIVE advertizing campaign, through flyers, UF-wide e-mails, talks in departments, etc. to boost LW membership

    3. consider increasing the membership fee by, say, 10%
    4. have some of the worn-out exercise equipment replaced, in order for some

    I am looking forward to a future for Living well for healthy Gators

  9. The Living Well Program is a small investment for the benefit to employee’s health and overall well being. I have been a member for over ten years and would not be able to use another facility off campus for various reasons. It is a great stress reliever during my day (I go most days during lunch). The students who intern there are wonderful and I enjoy taking the classes that they teach each semester. It is a win-win situation for everyone. Please take into consideration how many employees this will be affecting if it is cut.

  10. It is proposed that as part of the Health and Human Performance program that the LIVING WELL PROGRAM be cut. What is more important than addressing the health of current faculty and staff? I really think that the LIVING WELL PROGRAM at UF is of great benefit to faculty and staff. I would suggest creating a faculty/staff advisory committee to address the long-term viability of this important program and include funding in the budget to keep the LIVING WELL PROGRAM.

  11. There seems to be some misunderstanding about Joe Glover’s comments (as recorded in the Sun) about drawing the ire of the chairs/deans. As I understand it, the so-called unallocated resources, which totaled $111M last summer but are already much less, include research funds that come from IDC, and are kept at the College, Department, and PI level. They are not really unallocated, because they MUST be used for research, and very often they are earmarked for specific projects. However, on July 1st they show as reserves.

    If the President reached in and grabbed these from the Department, I (as Department Chair) would be very unhappy. It would not benefit the department to be told that “you get no budget cut, but by the way we took all your money”. That money has often been promised for a specific task, for example start-up packages for new faculty, or is used by the investigators for research expenses that are not allowed on federal grants (costs associated with writing grant proposals are an example). I would prefer to have a budget cut and work out how to cover it. To do so will inevitably include use of these funds, but at least there will be some local control.

  12. Last week Provost Glover stated (as quoted in the Sun) that the use of unrestricted funds to cover the shortfall would ‘draw the ire of Deans and Chairs’. Can we find out how many Deans and Chairs would be angry about the use of unrestricted funds in order to prevent cuts to their colleges and departments?

  13. Why not admit more students into the University? We know that there are many qualified applicants wanting to enroll. Seems if we boost our overall enrollment, we can take care of some of the funding issues created by RCM.

  14. Yesterday President Machen explained what will happen if the governor signs the bill allowing UF to set competitive tuition.

    Is there a Plan B?

  15. wrd@ufl.edu says:

    One way that faculty and staff could contribute to help the University survive the current budget crisis without layoffs is the following:

    The University should somehow arrange to establish what would amount to a “bond issue” to raise money, whereby faculty and staff could allocate part of their salary (say 10%, and perhaps pre-tax) to purchase shares in this “bond issue”, the money to be paid back, with interest, let us say in 10 years. This would be a way faculty and staff could “invest” in their university and their future. Faculty would essentially be lending money to the University in order to minimize the impact of the current budgetary problems.

    Let me suggest that the University attorneys give this some thought and see if such a plan could be implemented.

  16. The UF Foundation needs to come up with a way to raise $1-2 M named endowments for Departments and Centers, but one of the problems is how to get the naming right.  We’d normally expect a ~$10-15M endowment to name a big department, and maybe half that for a small department or center, but that may be out of reach for someone who wants to help. 

    Here’s an idea.  Allow an endowment to name the administrative Chair of the Department (or Center Director) for his or her term, like a Term Professorship. A ~$2M gift could established the ___ Chair of ___, and the Chair of that Department would hold that title during his/her term. The understanding could be that a portion of the endowment would support him/her personally (thus taking the College off the hook for additional research expenses and maybe some summer salary), but the bulk of the proceeds would be for the collective benefit of the department to be administered by the Chair.

    This is not a solution to the current short term crisis, but it might help our successors deal with the next one. 

  17. The legislature also passed a bill (HB 5005) lowering the state contribution to the SUSORP by 2.28%, which is equivalent to another pay cut (except unlike last year’s 3%, it doesn’t come out of our paycheck, but results in less money to our retirement accounts).

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