Central implements new budget model

Aaron Kunkler, Staff Reporter

Over the past year, the administration at Central has been attempting to meet budget shortfalls in various ways. One of the most prominent attempts has been the shift toward a Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) system.

Last spring, the state legislature froze tuition increases and other sources of income from the state, leaving Central with a $6.5 million debt.

RCM was implemented to help reallocate funds, allowing the deans of individual colleges to have much more discretion on where money coming in is sent and how it is utilized.

One of the key changes in transitioning to the RCM model was awarding departments funding based on how many students were enrolled in each department.

This was good news for departments that offered general education credits, or credits that every student must take in order to get any degree.

In a department like accounting, where most students don’t declare their major until later in their junior year, it can be detrimental.

For other departments, particularly the college of business, this is an area of concern as they do not have the level of general education courses as many other colleges.

Bruce Palmquist, physics professor, said that the RCM is the largest change to hit campus in the past year. He also said that, on the whole, he thinks it’s a good idea, but has yet to see many effects in his department.

According to Palmquist, the administration is also pressuring Central faculty to put four-year-plans online to allow students to map out their academic experiences more easily. He said he supports this, and views it as a positive step for the university, allowing students and professors to help plan out their academic needs.

Palmquist said that one area which could be improved upon was faculty-administration communication.

He also said that communication is a twoway road, and a lack of communication may be coming from the faculty or administration.

As a whole, communication between the two sides of the university is all right, Palmquist said.

Marvin Bouillon, chair of the accounting department, said that he has seen the RCM model implemented at other universities, but that the way it is handled at Central will need some fine tuning.

“I don’t want to come out negatively against the administration, they have a tough job,” Bouillon said. “I think there’s more we need to look at than we’re currently looking at.”

Bouillon said that he thinks the administration is beginning to look at some issues that he is concerned about as well.

Currently, funding for his department is given based on 80 percent of the total student-credit hours. This means the lion’s share of their funding comes from the gross number of hours students spend working on courses offered in a department.

There are three areas which Bouillon believes the administration should be looking into with the RCM.

First, he said, the administration should consider dispersion of revenue. Second, other areas should be considered when allocating costs. Third, Bouillon would like to see a fixed budget amount allocated to departments to meet their basic requirements.

Bouillon said that he thinks the administration is beginning to tackle this.

“It’s a learning process. I don’t want to come out with a negative outlook,” Bouillon said, “I think the RCM has a merit.”

Bouillon said the accounting department will end up being a much “leaner” department. This will mean larger class sizes, increasing graduation rates and more majors.