University Senate                                                                                               

April 27, 2001

 

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BUDGET REVIEW COMMITTEE: 2000–2001

 

The activities of the Budget Review Committee fell into two categories: (1) receiving and reviewing information on aspects of the university budget, and (2) initiating inquiries into budgetary matters not routinely presented to the Committee through ordinary channels. Under the first heading, the Committee chair reported on meetings of the Resources and Priorities Committee and the Finance Committee of the University Board of Trustees, which the chair attends ex officio. It also received a report on the completion of the University’s capital campaign from Derek Bellin of University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR). Noting the campaign’s singular shortfall in Arts and Sciences professorial endowments and the fact that the targets for graduate student fellowship endowment were well below what is needed, the Committee urged UDAR to make these its top priorities in the post-campaign period.

 

Under the second heading, and constituting its primary focus of the year, the Committee devoted several meetings to discussions of the University’s engagement in online enterprises. After a fruitful discussion of the issues involved with Provost Jonathan Cole, the Committee called for and participated in the inquiries and report of the Joint Subcommittee on Fathom.com. The Committee’s primary concern in this matter was clarification of the formal relationship of the University to Fathom, the rationale for the University’s financial commitment of $20 million plus $8.7 million for a technical electronic platform, and the implications of the relationship for the University’s budget. Executive Provost Michael Crow appeared before the Committee and answered all questions put to him on these subjects.

 

After reviewing and accepting the report of the joint subcommittee, the Committee recognized that budgetary review of the University’s involvement in and support for online activities and digital learning should be made part of its regular oversight agenda. It further decided to inquire into the extent and distribution of the University’s income from patents and royalties, both current and projected, inasmuch as much of the support for online activities and digital learning comes from this source, which is not part of the normal budget of the central administration.

 

In response to the Committee’s letter to Provost Jonathan Cole, Executive Vice Provost Michael Crow provided the Committee with a full report on income and expenditures from these sources. Executive Director Pat Huie from the Office of the Executive Vice Provost met with the Committee and answered further questions. Inasmuch as patent and royalty income is expected to fluctuate considerably from year to year and is not contained within the normal budget of the central administration, it will be a continuing responsibility of the Budget Review Committee to receive reports on this income and its expenditure.

 

With respect to the Committee’s charge to bring to the Senate’s attention “any instance of non-compliance of the budget with the existing priorities or policies and any other allocations which, in the Committee’s opinion, are not in the best interests of the University,” the Committee has no matters it wishes to bring forward at this time.

 

Richard W. Bulliet, Chair