Minutes of December 8, 1994 Meeting


The meeting convened at 2:09 p.m. in room 817 Cathedral of Learning.

UPBC members present were: Thomas Anderson, Toni Carbo Bearman, Jacob Birnberg, George Chambers, Thomas Detre, Ronald Gardner, Darlene Harris, James Holland, Randy Juhl, Peter Koehler, James Maher, Franklin McCarthy, Sharon Nelson-Le Gall, Joan Slezak, Ben Tuchi, Philip Wion, Bruce Williams, and Julius Youngner. Also present were: Ann Dykstra, Kevin Evanto, William Laird, Jeffrey Liebmann, William Madden, Jeffrey Masnick, Glenn Nelson, and Robert Pack.

UPBC members not present were: Nitin Badjatia, James Isaacs, Jeffrey Romoff, Michael Stuckart, and Judith Zimmerman.

Approval of Minutes and General Announcements

The minutes of the November 11 meeting were approved. Pack announced the hiring of Darlene Zellers, current Director of Continuing Education, Program Development, and Summer Sessions at Duquesne University, as the Director of the new Office of Summer Sessions, Continuing Education, and Conferences, effective February 1, 1995.

Status of Commonwealth Relations

Dykstra reported on the shift to Republican control of both the Governor's office and the General Assembly as a result of the November elections. She cautioned that it is still early to predict the impact of the shift, but did report that the Governor-elect has established task forces to analyze each Commonwealth department, including Education. Dykstra stated that post-secondary education is not a high priority political issue at present, but that the next budget release (due in March 1995) will be the first true indicator of future directions.

Dykstra summarized the resolution and recommendations of the Task Force on Higher Education Funding, adopted on November 29, and the final recommendations of the Select Subcommittee on Nonpreferred Appropriations, approved on November 22. Both groups, chaired by University Trustees, are useful indicators of General Assembly members' thinking. She cautioned that the recommendations may carry less impact given the loss of Democratic control. Among the highlights were the following:

Task Force on Higher Education Funding

Select Subcommittee on Nonpreferred Appropriations

Dykstra indicated that Governor-elect Ridge has discussed the various levels of education and the need for different types of education for different types of students, emphasizing the connection between continuing education and economic development. She stressed, however, that he also wants to downsize state government and reduce state government spending at a time when higher education is not among the highest state priorities, as are corrections and public education. Dykstra stated that Ridge sees Pennsylvania increasing coordination among institutions, moving more toward a system of higher education. Maher stated that the trend in some states is toward universal articulation and transfer of credits among institutions, regardless of quality. He stated that efforts to head off such a trend in Pennsylvania are under way. Dykstra added that the focus in this area currently is among the state-owned universities.

Upcoming Planning and Budgeting Activities

Maher discussed proposed Provost's area planning and budgeting activities for the coming months. The specifics of the activities, to be discussed at the upcoming Deans' retreat, will include a review of unit long- range plans in the context of Toward the 21st Century, the creation of long- term budgets based on unit priorities, and the creation of pools of funds to support priorities both within and among academic units. He emphasized the need for the UPBC to provide structure for the decision making to be made on the basis of these plans and budgets, and to assist in the assessment of information.

In response to Wion's question, Detre explained the difficulties associated with formal long-range planning and budgeting among health science schools. He cited recent years wherein little or no budget augmentation has occurred, except for salary increases for existing positions, while the schools have absorbed several budget reductions. He added that the nature of change in the health schools' environment offers units little or none of the predictive ability necessary for long-range planning to occur and that governmental oversight and the competitive nature of grant funding makes planning and budgeting in the health sciences stricter than elsewhere. Masnick added that five-year budgets are currently being prepared and reviewed by health science Planning and Budgeting Committees.

Maher agreed that the issues facing the two groups of academic units are very different and that the health science schools have never lacked an aggressive pursuit of opportunities. Anderson expressed concern that health science schools should still plan, determining the appropriate mix of funds and priorities to guide faculty selection. Detre replied that health science planning is year-to-year, if not shorter, and that even the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health do not produce long-range plans.

Bearman stated that the UPBC should concern itself with all units and institutional decision making, not just academic units. Wion stated that it would be appropriate for each Senior Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor reporting to the Chancellor to outline their planning and budgeting activities for the near future. Pack added that one essential role for the UPBC is to determine the sequencing and funding strategy for the objectives included in Toward the 21st Century. Maher agreed, stating that the University does not offer an over large selection of programs, but that the University could benefit from an examination of how it could improve and what programs it should be offering. He emphasized the need to consider how all funds are spent and how revenues can be enhanced, calling for the creation of a pool of funds to be competitively allocated to units.

Discussion of Athletics

Anderson expressed concern that the UPBC still lacks information on the overall status of and investment in the Department of Athletics, specifically with regards to program costs, sources of revenues, and necessary expenditures for intramurals and non-intercollegiate activities. Birnberg agreed, citing the need to examine the budget of the entire athletics enterprise at the University.

Bearman asked whether the UPBC could realistically set a goal that the Athletics Department budget break even in five years. She also suggested that the UPBC consider one five-year projection consisting of a scenario in which the budgets of the academic units remain steady, the Athletics budget breaks even, and the nonacademic units make up the budget difference. Tuchi replied that the problem lies with the 16 non-revenue sports, which are by far the largest portion of the Athletics budget. He added that this problem did not preclude an analysis of football and basketball budgets as well. Tuchi stated that the UPBC will receive an expenditure analysis in January, indicating three-year budget patterns for football, mens' and womens' basketball, and all other sports. Youngner expressed concern that better financial information is not readily available and stressed the importance of reviewing budgets of all units, not just academic budgets.

The meeting adjourned at 4:06 p.m.