Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets

Committee Report to the Faculty Council

April 14, 2008

The Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets serves in an advisory capacity to the president and provost. The committee reviews University budgets and makes recommendations. The FACB committee has met five times this year and has two more meetings scheduled this semester.

The FACB has focused on three key areas thus far this year: the overall sources and funds of the 2007-2008 University of Texas at Austin budget; strategic use of endowments; and faculty merit awards/increases. The committee met with Steve Monti and Mary Knight to review the 2007-2008 University budget and the financial forecast developed through the efforts of the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC). Concerns about UT funds as a result of the UT System Board of Regents December 2007 resolution to cap the limit of tuition and fee increases to a maximum of 4.95 percent for each of the academic years 2008-09 and 2009-10 were also discussed.

Strategic use of endowments to support faculty and college initiatives are also under discussion with Provost Steve Leslie. Since endowment policy differs across different departments and different academic units on campus, there is a need for institutional decisions about how to make strategic use of these endowments.

The committee also discussed concerns with Provost Leslie about how information provided about faculty merit increases for the 2007-08 year may have contributed to confusion among UT faculty in the way that the merit pool funds were initially allocated. This allocation process was an anomaly as it occurred in the midst of a shift to steer decision making to the academic units.

The committee also met in the fall with Doug Burger, chair of Faculty Council, to discuss the role of the FACB in conjunction with other UT groups that advise on budget matters, including the Policy & Planning Advisory Committee (PPAC), the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) and the Executive Committee to the President, among others. It was agreed that more interaction among the various budget advisory entities could enhance dissemination of budget issues to the faculty.