In Miami University Senate’s final meeting of the school year, the Senate heard a report from the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee, approved several revisions to the Senate bylaws and University Policy and Information Manual and approved a proposed Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice.
In the annual report from the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee, Rebecca Luzadis, committee chair, said the university has been successful in some areas but not in others in efforts to control costs.
“Until we really get a handle on long-term revenue planning, we are going to have to worry about whether or not our budget can be stable year after year,” Luzadis said. “And that’s no way to run an institution with the long history that we have here.”
According to Luzadis, the Healthy Miami program, which helps employees manage their healthcare options, strategic sourcing and energy conservation, have all been areas where Miami has been successful in controlling costs.
On the other hand, Luzadis said academic affairs and IT Services have been problematic in cost control efforts. According to Luzadis, academic divisions are making cuts as usual, not the way the Strategic Priorities Taskforce suggested in 2010.
According to Luzadis, this is concerning because it is hard for the committee to control costs if the university continues to fund the same large number of programs.
Luzadis said the university’s large contract with consulting group Accenture to reorganize IT Services has not gone completely according to plan. According to Luzadis, one of Accenture’s four major suggested areas of change with IT Services has been met with major resistance, so those changes will no longer be occurring.
“In the next fiscal year, those changes were going to amount to almost $3 million in savings, and as of today the best estimate that we can come up with is there will be zero on that line,” Luzadis said.
Luzadis said the bottom line is the university has to start making difficult cost decisions.
“We really have to get serious about cost control and making hard choices,” Luzadis said.
The Senate also approved proposed changes to its bylaws including minor additions to the University Liberal Education Council’s guidelines as well as the Committee for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and University Advancement (CELTUA) guidelines with slight changes. The Senate also approved a revision to the Miami University Policy and Information Manual, eliminating the requirement that an associate professor applying for promotion has to meet for a review with his or her department chair, program director or dean.
The Senate also voted to approve a new Bachelor of Science in criminal justice. This degree stems from the associate degree that currently exists at Miami.
Philip Russo Jr., professor of political science and director of the Center for Public Management, spoke in favor of the proposal.
“I think having a program like this and an opportunity like this in the university is going to be a leverage opportunity,” Russo said.