1. September 8 and 26, 1994 Meeting Minutes
  2. Toward the 21st Century Document
  3. Strategic Issues Report and Recommendations
  4. Telecommunications Concerns and Issues


The meeting convened at 10:04 a.m. in room 2428 Cathedral of Learning.

UPBC members present were: Thomas Anderson, Jacob Birnberg, George Chambers, Ronald Gardner, Darlene Harris, James Holland, James Isaacs, Carol Kenderes, Peter Koehler, James Maher, Franklin McCarthy, Richard Nelson, Sharon Nelson-Le Gall, Jack Ochs, Ben Tuchi, Philip Wion, and Julius Youngner. Also present were: Ann Dykstra, Joseph Fink, Michael Gaber, Rhonda Gross, Leon Haley, Thomas Hussey, Bruce Hutchinson, William Laird, Jeffrey Liebmann, William Madden, Jeffrey Masnick, Robert Pack, Art Ramicone, Paul Stieman, and Lawrence Weber.

UPBC members not present were: Toni Carbo Bearman, Thomas Detre, Randy Juhl, Dennis McNair, Jeffrey Romoff, and Judith Zimmerman.

Approval of Minutes

The UPBC approved the August 1 minutes.

Report of the Strategic Issues Subcommittee

Ochs reported on the status of various information requests regarding capital projects, the growth in staffing levels in recent years, and the impact of positional control efforts. He distributed new long-term budget projections based on five different assumption scenarios. The assumptions used in the scenarios varied relative to the manner in which capital projects will be funded in the future, the volume of capital projects approved, and the University's commitment to facilities renewal and replacement.

Each of the five scenarios project annual budget deficits in the coming years, ranging between $8.7 and $34.6 million by FY 1999. Ochs also distributed a recommendation of the Subcommittee calling for the establishment of bounds on the types of capital projects approved in order to reduce future deficits. He recommended widespread distribution of the scenario report to make clear that the University must increase revenues to meet current facilities commitments and perform necessary renovations. Formal action on the recommendation was postponed to give Committee members time to review the report.

Birnberg expressed concern over the need for additional net projection information assessing the impact of future capital decisions and a mechanism to monitor outstanding capital commitments. Wion agreed that the UPBC needs more feedback relative to the conditions it has placed on certain capital proposals, such as those from Athletics. Wion added that the FY 1996 Parameters Subcommittee would soon produce projections requiring new iteration of long-term budget projections.

Commonwealth Capital Request

Hussey distributed copies of the capital request instructions from the Commonwealth Bureau of Budget, the University's FY 1995 request, and the draft FY 1996 request. Dykstra explained that the process consists of:
  1. institutional requests;
  2. authorization of a small number of requests by the General Assembly;
  3. review by the Governor; and
  4. eventual assignment of funds by the Budget Secretary and the Governor, which could take anywhere up to 10 years to occur.
She added that the Governor can also reduce the amount of funds provided for a project, forcing institutions to resubmit a Phase II request. Hussey explained that, historically, projects have been fully funded and that the Operation Jump Start was actually the first instance of project funding being released conditional on institutions sharing the cost. Gross added that the longer an authorized project remains unfunded, the more out-of-date cost estimates become.

Members discussed the draft FY 1996 capital request list, which includes the following projects.

  1. Deferred maintenance projects, all campuses ($7.0 million)
  2. Replace chillers containing CFC refrigerants ($5.0 million)
  3. Replace and upgrade electrical system components ($3.15 million)
  4. Titusville Campus underground telecommunications system ($2.0 million)
  5. Trees Hall renovations and addition -- Phase II ($10.0 million)
  6. Benedum Hall renovation and new construction ($14.0 million)
  7. Salk Hall -- Phase II ($5.0 million)
  8. Chevron Science Center renovation ($19.0 million)
  9. New Basic Sciences Complex -- Phase I ($25.0 million)
  10. Graduate School of Public Health addition and renovation -- Phase I ($12.8 million)
Birnberg requested information on what University projects already have received authorization, but have yet to receive funding. Anderson expressed concern that new University revenues may be consumed by the operating costs associated with expansion created by the approval of funding for further capital projects not included in the long-range plan. Wion suggested that the projects included should be drawn from the existing list of capital projects and that projects on the proposed list be included in the capital budget process. McCarthy responded that items included in the Commonwealth request should be lower priority projects as the University will want to ensure funding for high priority projects. Dykstra added that the list responds not only to University priorities, but also to stated priorities of the Commonwealth.

Anderson expressed concern that the projects included on the draft list would not generate new revenues, but were mostly expansion using valuable University resources. Members suggested referring the capital request list to the Capital Projects Subcommittee for review. Koehler and Birnberg stressed the importance of reviewing proposed capital projects relative to long-range goals and objectives. Wion added that the Subcommittee should also review the list of authorized projects that have yet to receive Commonwealth funding.

Proposed Changes to the FY 1995 Capital Projects List

Gaber presented four proposed changes to the FY 1995 list of approved capital projects, including Salk Hall security ($150,000); Greensburg dormitory ($2.7 million); WPIC Child and Youth Center ($18.0 million); and UPMC Preservation Projects ($1.0 million). Gaber explained that the UPG dormitory will be funded from a combination of Greensburg auxiliaries and debt service paid by the Campus. The WPIC and UPMC projects were unintentional omissions from the previously reviewed list. The former is a Jump Start project originally projected at $23.0 million, but which was renegotiated with the Commonwealth to now consist of $9.0 million of state funds matched by $9.0 million from WPIC. Chambers moved to accept the additions to the FY 1995 list of approved capital projects. Koehler seconded. The motion was approved 15 to 1.

Proposal for a New Telecommunications Switch

Stieman presented information justifying the need for the University to invest in a new telecommunications switch. The current switch, which processes telephone line usage, will soon reach 91% capacity as a result of the increasing number of lines for faxes, modems, and new telephones. He explained that when this level of capacity is exceeded, the quality of telephone service will decline. Stieman explained the history of the acquisition of the current switch and the options for its replacement. The two primary options include purchasing a new switch with twice the capacity of the current switch, or returning to the lease-type, centrex arrangement used prior to the Campus of the Future initiative. While not at liberty to disclose exact estimates because of ongoing vendor negotiations, Stieman indicated that the purchase option would cost significantly less than the lease option.

In response to Wion's question, Hutchinson indicated that the original $6.0 million estimate for the project was still accurate and that the remaining debt from the current switch could be bridged into required new debt. Youngner moved that the telecommunication switch project be added to the FY 1995 list of approved capital projects. Wion seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.


The meeting convened at 2:15 p.m. in room 2428 Cathedral of Learning.

UPBC members present were: Thomas Anderson, Toni Carbo Bearman, Jacob Birnberg, Thomas Detre, Ronald Gardner, James Holland, Randy Juhl, Carol Kenderes, James Maher, Franklin McCarthy, Dennis McNair, Richard Nelson, Ben Tuchi, Philip Wion, and Judith Zimmerman. Also present were: Rhonda Gross, Jeffrey Liebmann, William Madden, and Robert Pack.

UPBC members not present were: George Chambers, Darlene Harris, James Isaacs, Peter Koehler, Sharon Nelson-Le Gall, Jack Ochs, Jeffrey Romoff, and Julius Youngner.

FY 1996 Commonwealth Capital Request

Juhl reported that the Capital Projects Subcommittee met to review the FY 1996 Commonwealth capital request and that the group recommended approval of the request with three suggestions.

McManus confirmed a discussion held at the Subcommittee that the University could actually decline funding for a particular capital project if the financial circumstance warranted. He stated that the political ramifications of such an action are not as problematic as what was once thought.

Toward the 21st Century Document

Pack detailed changes made to the document since the previous version was distributed to the Committee. He described the process by which the document would provide the context for the review of individual units plans resulting in the identification of priorities and resource allocation decisions by April, 1995 for implementation in FY 1996. Detre stated that the document represented the best current thinking and recommended remaining flexible so that the University could respond to future trends.

In response to Birnberg's question, Pack explained the numbering of the strategies contained in the document. Specifically, strategies one through three represent the traditional university missions of teaching, research, and public service. Strategy four focuses on those core areas and high quality programs, both institution-wide and within units, that are key to making responsible resource allocation decisions that will promote excellence. Strategies five through nine detail how the University will accomplish the first four strategies, namely through improved academic/student affairs linkages, better integration of the five University campuses, better faculty policies and procedures, improved management structures and processes, and continued maintenance and development of the physical infrastructure. Strategy ten, which addresses the institution's reputation and potential for fund raising, represents the logical conclusion of the preceding strategies.

Zimmerman expressed concern over the identification of core academic areas. Bearman stated that some areas not specifically listed among the identified core areas are among those high quality programs also slated for maintenance or enhancement. Maher emphasized that the document affirms that the University has an academic core that is crucial to the institution's reputation and overall quality. He stressed the need for all units to examine their activities and the quality of each. Bearman expressed concern that the document focuses more on Pennsylvania and less on national and international issues. Maher responded that, while not a separate strategy, the international focus is significant in every strategy. He added that the emphasis is more global than simply stressing the study of individual cultures.

Pack explained that Appendix C to the document contains one-page summaries of the academic unit plans. While these plans have not yet been approved, the summaries state current planned directions. He emphasized the dynamic nature of the long-range planning process and that annual and other ongoing reviews of the external environment and institutional aspirations will direct future revisions. Detre agreed that the University must develop a mechanism for responding quickly to environmental initiatives. Maher stated that this document helps the University begin a rational decision making process by examining possibilities and using resources well within an identified framework. He expressed the hope that units will read this document, reexamine the plans they submitted in the spring of 1994, and when necessary aggressively rewrite them.

Tuchi cautioned that certain Trustee committees will not see the document as sufficiently detailed. Pack responded that people must first believe that the decision making process is fair and should agree to the fundamental issues identified in the document. Then, the University will make the necessary decisions, both at the institutional and unit levels, on an aggressive schedule.

Maher explained that the document would be mailed to the trustees on October 7 and that members could provide comments up until that time. Bearman expressed concern over the perceived lack of UPBC discussion of the document's contents. Birnberg responded that the task of the UPBC may be monitoring the implementation of identified strategies rather than discussing the actual identification of strategies. He stated that the UPBC is not a strategic planning committee and stressed the value of the document in reducing confusion.

FY 1996 Commonwealth Appropriation Request

Madden distributed a list of assumptions discussed by the FY 1996 Planning Parameters Subcommittee to be used in developing the University's FY 1996 appropriations request. The primary logic is to build a projected budget upon a low tuition increase contingent upon a 6% increase in Commonwealth appropriation.

The meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.