On Oct. 26, Provost Keith Whitfield and Chief Financial Officer William Decatur came together for a public town hall meeting to provide updates on the process of creating and implementing a new budget model for Wayne State.
Whitfield said they are prioritizing the transparency of the project and that they want this to be a community effort in order to incorporate and adjust to different opinions. Whitfield also said this town hall is the first of many interactions with the public concerning the new model.
“We do want to have a sense of community around this [project],” Whitfield said. “It is going to move our university forward and we do want to be a community about it. Community means that there’s different opinions, and that’s absolutely fine.”
The project launched in Feb. 2017, and it is the collaborative effort of nine committees and over 50 faculty and staff members. The new model was created to, “support the long-term financial sustainability and promise of [WSU] as a top urban, public research university,” according to the Responsibility Center Management website.
Decatur said incremental budgeting models—which WSU currently operates under—provide limited transparency, no incentives for growth and weak links between academic authority and financial responsibility, all factors which he thinks RCM will strengthen.
“Can we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome?” He said.
RCM decentralizes budgeting by moving budget authority from central administration out to individual colleges. This model allows for deans to have greater control over the operations of their colleges, giving them the authority to decide which form of internal organization works best for them and the success of their constituents.
According to the website, the RCM-based budget model will not generate additional revenue, it is instead, “meant to more closely align the allocation of the university’s budget with its strategic goals.”
Whitfield said the new model will not lead to the abandonment of some areas of the university while favoring others, instead it will ensure continuous improvement and higher efficiency in the allocation of funds.
“Our academic units are all of value, there is not one that is not of value, to our students, to the community, to the service of the mission of this university,” Whitfield said.
According to the timeline, the new budget model project will begin its testing and learning period in July 2019. The project is expected to end fall 2020 and “go live” in the fiscal year 2021.
For updates on the process, more information and alerts on the next public town hall, go to https://rcm.wayne.edu/.