The attached powerpoint describes the new Cost per SCH (Student Credit Hour) model that each College must adhere to for this year. The model requires that each College become a Cost Center. Each SCH is treated as equal – it does not matter if it is a graduate or undergraduate SCH.
The model requires that each College, except for the College of Health and Human Services, become more efficient. CHHS is already efficient under this model. Efficiency targets were established without input or explanation. In the case of the College of Education, faculty must increase their efficiency by 3.0%.
Per the PPT, you can see that the Colleges must meet Cost per SCH targets . These targets were set by the Provost’s office without any input from the faculty again. In fact, it is a simplistic budget model which takes all the SCH – regardless of type and divides the total SCH into the total cost.
The total cost is determined by adding up all the costs for everything that a college spends. For example, all salaries and benefits costs for faculty, administrators, clericals, PTs, and GAs, plus travel, SS&M, equipment etc. are summed to get the total cost figure. The differences between colleges are striking because of a number of factors. While there are many programmatic differences between colleges that affect cost structures, I will illustrate with two of them to show how simple changes can affect the actual cost per SCH numbers.
First, some colleges have locally controlled advising centers and therefore those costs are in their total costs – the cost of advisors is one such cost. The College of Arts and Sciences does not have an advising center so it will not be charged for advising. Second, the more general education courses a college has the lower its costs. The more graduate programs the higher the costs. Those are just two of the budget items that result in differences between college cost per SCH numbers.
The Provost and the Associate Provost Carroll insist that these types of factors do not matter, because it is the trend line that matters. However, if the Department of HPHP were back in the College of Education its cost per SCH would drop to about $270 from over $300 and the College of Health and Human Services would rise to $270 from $260. So which departments are in which colleges matter as to whether a college can meet its target. This example shows why colleges as cost centers are not a good idea with arbitrary targets.
In addition the Colleges must become more cost efficient. This means that SCHs must increase, or programs must be cut, or costs reduced for personnel, SS&M, travel, etc. The Provost indicated at a meeting of the Deans that if our College of Education was compared to other State of Michigan institutions we would need to reduce the budget for the EMU COE by $2 million. In addition some Colleges have large faculty salary savings (budget minus actual expenditures on faculty salaries) where the COE has a negative $600,000 it must also recover. This is purely an under budgeting of faculty salaries.
The Dean’s comment was misinterpreted that the College of Education must cut $2 million from its budget. Many COE faculty are being asked to cut release times and beg for release times in front of their colleagues. There has been a lot of angst generated among the faculty by the way this budget model was imposed on the faculty by the administration.
A lot of the upset and misinformation about this new budget model could have been avoided if the Faculty Senate had been asked to get input from the faculty through their representatives. However, no such request was made.
When the Senate faculty leaders heard about this budget model they met with the Provost and asked her why the faculty were not asked to give input which is required under our labor contract. The Provost was dismissive. She said she did not need to get input as this was not a new model. The Associate Provost also said that we have been budgeting like this for years which is not true – I do not remember any efficiency targets being imposed on the faculty.
Our contract is clear: Senate gives input to the Provost on personnel, finance, and curricular issues.
If you have any questions about this situation please let me know. The Senate and the EMU-AAUP leadership are working together to address this contract violation by the Provost and Associate Provost Jim Carroll and we will be taking action to ensure that faculty input is protected and that the Provost’s office follows the contract now and in the future. We do not know yet what the fall out of this budget model will be for individual departments or faculty. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.