Academic Senate Budget Committee

Meeting Notes

November 6, 2008

3:40 p.m.

Beartooth Room



Members Present:

David Garloff

Jane Howell

Rob Barnosky (student)

Gershon Bulgatz

Kay Streeter

Steve Coffman

Rakesh Sah

Gary Gray

Karen Heikel

D’Ann Campbell

Ron Sexton

Liz Tooley

Terrie Iverson

Michael Barber

Gary Young

LeAnn Anderson

Mark Hardt

Keith Edgerton

Tasneem Khaleel

Brian Reed

Mary Susan Fishbaugh



A.  Academic Affairs Defined

There has been some question about what “Academic Affairs” means.  The Montana University System requires us to categorize our budget into eight major areas:  instruction, research, public service, academic support, student services, institutional support, operations and maintenance, and scholarships and fee waivers.  Academic Affairs includes instruction but also components from other areas like research and academic support.  Within Academic Support are the Deans offices, the Advising Center, and the Provost’s Office.  It’s difficult to pull out just Academic Affairs because it is so tied to so many areas.


We are spending about 48% of our budget on instruction.  Somewhere between 48-52% is the norm.  Liz Tooley, Budget Officer, agreed to find some comparison information for other like institutions and how much they spend on instruction.


B.  Possible Meeting Plan

Faculty are feeling more enfranchised in the budgeting process thanks to this bottom-up approach.  It seems since we do not have a deadline and an amount to cut from the budget, we should engage in more planning conversations.  However, the CQI Committee is already actively engaged in that process, and we should not duplicate it.  Perhaps instead of regular meetings every other week, faculty forums or information sessions could be held to keep all faculty informed.


Chancellor Ron Sexton noted that the Governor’s budget for the next biennium will be coming out mid-November.  Until that time, we won’t know where we stand.  We do know that the initiatives are all gone.  With the election of new legislators, the Montana Senate will now have a Republican majority, while the House will have a Democrat majority.  However, neither will have a “comfortable” majority because many legislators jump according to the issue.  The University’s biggest concern is whether they will continue present law—whether we will have an increase in base funding or not.  If there is a pay increase, will it be funded by general funds or half-and-half with a tuition increase?


Perhaps, since this Committee does not have any urgent business and since we do not yet know what the Governor and the Regents are planning, we should not meet, but instead allow the Chancellor to report to us information and hypothetical budgeting plans.  Faculty members are already attending Provost Council, Chancellor’s Cabinet, and the Executive Budget Council.  With those faculty representatives reporting to the Senate, plus the Chancellor informing us, as well as faculty forums disseminating budget information, the Academic Senate Budget Committee is really duplicating effort.  However, we have to be aware of the danger of slipping back into the “no time for philosophy—cut now” mindset.


It was agreed the proposal that the Academic Senate Budget Committee will not meet on a regular basis, but rather only when more information is needed, will be brought to the Academic Senate at their meeting next week.