Finding the Funds

Future unclear as new budgeting model leaves departments scrambling for funds

Miles King, Staff Reporter

Beginning this year, CWU has a new budget model aimed to give control of funds to the deans of each college.  The new model is called Activity-Based Budgeting (ABB).

ABB and Responsibility-Centered Management (RCM), essentially accountability systems, is designed to distribute funds to each college based on revenue-generating activities and proportional Student Credit Hours (SCH). RCM causes funds to be distributed at a college level instead of at the departmental level.

This academic year the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) was not able to cover its own expenses, according to Katherine Frank, provost and vice president of academic and student life,  in an earlier interview this year.

For example, music students often take individual music lessons from a faculty member in their fields.

Because of this shortage in funds, the other colleges at CWU aid CAH to continue operating, Linda Schactler, chief of staff in the office of the president, said.

This was “due to a variety of factors, mostly having to do with smaller student-to-faculty ratios,” Frank said.

CAH also earns money through revenue-generating activities such as summer camps, festivals and popular music concerts, according to Todd Shiver, the interim dean of CAH. Shiver mentioned CAH also receives funding from alumni donors.  

“Arts and humanities cost more than they bring in,” Shiver said.

ABB pairing with RCM allows the dean of each college and the budget committee to distribute the funds to faculty wages or goods and services, according to Frank.

The previous budget model “allocated resources arbitrarily,” said Frank.,

The new budget model pairing RCM and ABB is only temporary, according to Shiver. It will be tweaked in the coming years to better accommodate everyone at CWU. He also believes the new budget model will evolve in the future to meet the needs of CAH, as well as CWU as a whole.

Shiver also believes that while the CAH is not receiving the funding it wants, it is receiving the funding it needs to operate. The new budget is “just a different philosophy,” Shiver said. He then reiterated CAH’s desire for student success and meeting the basic needs of its students and faculty.

Shiver also shared efficiency goals aimed at keeping CAH on budget. These goals included improved class scheduling with less overlapping courses aimed at maximizing the number of students in each course.

CAH offers many general education classes, according to Schactler. However, the 22.4 percent share of total SCH that the college accounts for this academic year is not enough budget to cover the expenses of CAH, Shiver said.

“In the long-run there will be more positives,” Shiver said, referring to the new budget model. He noted that RCM paired with ABB will show how CAH distributes funds and that the respective colleges of CWU have been sharing funds for decades. He specifically referenced the music program, which has been receiving aid for many years. Shiver was the former Music Department Chairman.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Shiver said.

Even with the RCM in full swing, faculty are still unsure of the BOT’s ability to advocate for faculty and student rights, in regards to the funding change.