FSEC seeks faculty input on budget cuts
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee yesterday discussed the role that faculty should play in UB’s budgeting process at a time when shrinking state revenues are forcing the university to make deep cuts.
Claude Welch, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science and chair of the senate’s Budget Priorities Committee, led the conversation, asking his peers what ideas they had for dealing with the funding crisis. The committee has the ear of the administration, Welch pointed out, with senior administrators, including Provost Satish K. Tripathi, attending the great majority of group’s meetings. Welch stressed the importance of campus-wide involvement in budgeting, saying he was “disheartened” to learn that the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences recently had abolished its own budget priorities committee. A similar committee in the College of Arts and Sciences has also ceased functioning, he added.
Some FSEC members echoed Welch’s sentiments, saying they felt it was important for the budgeting process to include broad input. Stephen Dyson, Park Professor of Classics in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he believed that large units, such as CAS, should have a committee to address budget priorities.
Stanley Bruckenstein, professor of chemistry, said members of budget priorities committees should have a good understanding of what the goals of the various academic units are. Budget priorities, he said, should correlate with those goals.
President John B. Simpson encouraged creative thinking in approaching budget cuts.
“I have, as has the provost, asked deans and vice presidents and directors and so forth, instead of merely thinking about what to cut, to try and balance the budget…think about your fundamental practice, your fundamental way of doing business, and think about how to do it smarter, how to do it better and how to do it in a way that not only leads to balancing the budget, but leads to changing the way in which you do your business,” Simpson said. “I believe that at the end of the day, the model I grew up with, about how a university functions, how a university professor functions and so forth, is, in today’s world, and increasingly in the future, simply not sustainable.”
Faculty members with suggestions on the role faculty should play in the budgeting process may contact Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or Faculty Senate Chair Robert Hoeing, associate professor of linguistics, at email@example.com.