Friday, November 9, 2:30-3:30 pm, 123 IMU
Members Present: Sandy Daack-Hirsch, Bernd Fritzsch (via phone), Abigail Gainer, Russ Ganim (chair), Dexter Golinghorst, Michael Hesseltine, John Keller, Amy Lee, Edith Parker.
Members of the task force introduced themselves at this initial meeting of the task force. Not all members were able to attend today.
Task Force Chair Russ Ganim explained that the task force had been formed as a response to the closing and defunding of several centers and institutes earlier in the year. At that time, shared governance leaders did not feel that university administrators had sought sufficient consultation with personnel at the affected entities, with shared governance, or with other concerned constituents. However, administrators have worked with shared governance leaders to establish this task force, which will provide an additional level of advice and analysis with regard to possible future closures and restructuring at a time when state support for the University continues to decline and major reductions to the UI budget have already been made (as indicated in the task force’s official charge). The creation of this task force was announced at the August 1 Board of Regents meeting. Chair Ganim commented that the task force may well develop into a standing committee.
Chair Ganim indicated that the task force has some time to develop its procedures and processes because it is unlikely that there will be a mid-year budget rescission during the 2018- 19 academic year. During the 2017-18 academic year, there had been both a de-appropriation and a mid-year cut. The university budget may again face challenges in the 2019-20 academic year, but it will be some time before we know that for sure. The results of the recent elections in Iowa point towards a continuation of the status quo. Our Board of Regents is committed to working on behalf of the universities, so maybe negative repercussions will be at a minimum.
Turning to the task force’s charge, Chair Ganim indicated that it is not the task force’s job to look for programs to cut. The task force will need to come to an understanding of the university budget. When previous task forces, such as the 2004 General Education Fund Task Force, undertook similar efforts, they were given specific dollar amounts to cut. This task force will not function that way and will not be reactive. Instead, the task force will develop guidelines for a fair and transparent process and it will plan ahead for 2019-20, using the past year as a baseline. The task force will seek input from the deans, the recently-established central service advisory committees and the Path Forward advisory groups regarding areas to cut. Research and student success are the university’s vital, core endeavors and will be protected from cuts to the extent possible. Central services are likely to be areas most likely to be cut. Programs and centers not part of the university’s core mission but supported with General Education Fund resources will face particular scrutiny. Other sources of funding for outreach efforts and programs could be identified to keep these programs functioning. The task force has the entire 2018-19 academic year to develop its processes and identify areas for restructuring.
The task force is scheduled to meet next on Thursday, December 13, 10-11 am, in room 2520B of the University Capitol Centre.