Insight into fiscal year 23 budget process presented at academic senate meeting

Ian+Gonzalez%2C+the+vice+president+of+finance%2C+presented+at+a+special+academic+senate+meeting+Nov.+3

Ian Gonzalez, the vice president of finance, presented at a special academic senate meeting Nov. 3

Every December at Marquette the Board of Trustees goes over and approves the budget for the following fiscal year. In preparation for this, Ian Gonzalez, vice president of finance and head of university financial planning and review committee, presented at a special university Academic Senate meeting Nov. 3.

“It’s important for us as faculty to learn about this year’s budget process, but also the general budget process,” Allison Abbott, chair of the university Academic Senate meeting and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, said. 

The presentation went over the budget creation process as well as going over issues that pertain to this upcoming fiscal year.

“One of my main goals from the time I joined Marquette almost two years ago was to help improve financial statement literacy on campus,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez said that presenting at the academic senate meeting is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that goal. The UFPRC is composed of faculty, administration, students and deans across campus. The two faculty representatives include both a tenure-track and non tenure-track faculty member.

“This group gives me the feedback we need on budget manners, not just the operating budget, but the capital budget as well,” Gonzalez said.

As a part of the budgeting process, UFPRC has heard from a variety of speakers relating to initiatives across campus. These initiatives include student success, enrollment,  as well as graduate and online programs. 

Some of the speakers included Vice president of university advancement Tim McMahon, Vice provost of student affairs John Su and Dean of the graduate school Douglas Woods.

“All those strategic initiatives, of course, have an influence on the budget and UFPRC needs to hear from them,” Gonzalez said.

In addition, when creating the budget Gonzalez noted that the UFPRC will have to account for “unplanned impacts” such as the fall 2021 enrollment shortfall. Yet, even accounting for the shortfalls, Gonzalez believes that this year will not be as “painful” as the last.

“I’m confident in our ability to navigate it (the fiscal year) without another round of significant pain,” Gonzalez said.

The “significant pain” Gonzalez referenced was the elimination of faculty positions that occurred last year. In January, the university eliminated 39 positions and in the spring chose not to renew a “single digit percentage” of full-time non tenure-track faculty members. These actions sparked a series of protests and other actions by on-campus groups that were upset with the decisions.

“This budget does not contemplate any reduction in staff or faculty levels like we saw last year,” Gonzalez said.

Following the presentation there was a discourse between Gonzalez, other administration and faculty on what exactly the lack of reduction meant.

“We obviously will continue to monitor as the demand for studio classes goes down from fewer students. We expect there will be smaller scheduled classes obviously commensurate with the number of sections that we need for our students. We will continue to staff as needed with respect to the student body that we have available,” Provost Kimo Ah Yun said.

Even after this statement there was further discussion over the matter of faculty reductions. Abbott eventually produced a summary that received approval from both Ah Yun and Gonzalez.

“There’s nothing set in the budget that drives a reduction in force or a real drastic change in headcount. Some of the changes are perhaps as needed,” Abbott said.

Throughout the year the UFPRC reviews different matters of the budget, although Gonzalez said they do a lot of their work between August and December. 

“The process is still ongoing, we’re nearing the end just knowing that those budget meetings are coming up quickly,” Gonzalez said.

The Board of Trustees reviews the proposed budget every December. This year, Gonzalez said that a meeting between UFPRC and the Board of Trustees is scheduled for Dec. 10.

“What I can tell you is that we don’t expect any major surprises as we wrap up the budget in the coming weeks,” Gonzalez said.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu