The idea for holding a Budget Teach In was hatched during a meeting of the Blue Ash College Action Team leaders. Many of the individuals present in the meeting did not understand the Performance Based Budgeting (PBB) Model or the problems associated with UC’s implementation of this model. As a result, the team decided that UCBA faculty could benefit from a teach in on PBB. Although the primary audience of the teach in was UCBA, the entire university community was invited. The call by faculty across the university for additional sessions across the university were quickly received, and versions of the Budget Teach In have been offered during the spring semester at UCBA, Clermont, A&S Faculty Senate, and the UC Faculty Senate. For those who weren’t able to attend one of these sessions, a summary has been provided below:
Under the Performance Based Budgeting (PBB) model, senior administrators determine how much money is needed to run the university for the year. Based on this amount, each college is assigned a share of this amount, which is called the “threshold.” Each college is expected to either grow, make cuts, or use a combination of these two to meet the threshold, which is a predetermined budget deficit. When a college doesn’t meet the threshold, the college “owes” the university money. This model is problematic for several reasons: 1) The threshold is set by upper administrators without sufficient shared governance in this process; 2) The model assumes unlimited growth capacity, and fails to account for limitations such as space or pedagogical needs; and 3) Performance is only measured on growth and cost cutting measures because measuring quality of student learning is messy and challenging.
The Budget Teach In compared several of UC’s primary expenses since the inception of PBB in 2010. Since onset of PBB, UC’s revenue has increased from $1.16 billion to $1.38 billion. From 2010 to 2018, UC’s total revenue increased by 6.9% and their expenditures grew by 5.6%. Very little of this growth was invested in Instruction. Instruction and General Support* only increased by a paltry 0.9%. Meanwhile Institutional Support**, Academic Support*** and Auxiliary Enterprises**** expenditures have grown by 35.6%, 36.1% and 37.2% respectively. Meanwhile, from 2010 to 2017, student Full Time Equivalencies (FTE) at the UC main campus increased by 14.9% and for the entire system by 8.3%. Since the core mission of UC is education, the disproportionate increase in instructional spending compared to Institutional Support, Academic Support and Auxiliary Enterprises is shocking considering the significant increase in enrollment.
Faculty have identified several priorities that need additional funding. Although several ideas were identified by faculty, a common theme centered on improving quality of instruction. Faculty would like more funding for professional development and to convert adjuncts to full time tenure-track positions so that these faculty members could make a living wage teaching fewer classes, which will allow them more time to meet and interact with students. Similarly, smaller class sizes would allow faculty to provide more personalized instruction to students.
* Instruction and General refers to activities directly related to instruction and expenses for public service and research that cannot be separated from instructional costs.
**Institutional support refers to the services that are not related to instruction but to the administration of the university.. Human resources, Finance, Public Affairs, and Executive Management are some examples of services included in this category.
***Academic support are services provided that directly further the core mission of teaching, research and public service. The Deans’ offices, the Library, Museums & Galleries are examples of the types of services that fall under this category.
****Auxiliary Services references units that provide a service(s) to students, faculty or staff for a fee. The fee charged is related to the cost of the service but does not necessarily cover the entire cost of the service. Auxiliary Service units are often partially or fully self-supporting. Examples of Auxiliary Services include Residence & Dining Halls, Intercollegiate Athletics, Student Unions, Bookstores, Parking Lots & Garages, Kingsgate Conference Center, the Campus Recreation Center, and the Fifth Third.