Archive for the ‘trends’ Category

internet-unfollowA trend in higher education is the move towards decentralized budgeting.   Terms like ‘Responsbility Based Budgeting’, ‘Activity Based Budgeting’, ‘Responsibility Centered Budgeting’ and ‘Value Centered Budgeting’ are used to describe this concept.   Support for responsbility based budgeting at universities has been mixed.  Organizations like the NEA have expressed their concerns with it (Beware Higher Ed’s Newest Budget Twist by Leroy W. Dubeck) and organizations like the National Association of College and University Business Officer’s have generally been supportive of it (The Case for Decentralized Financial Management, by Scott Scarborough).

If your university is engaged in discussions about responsbility based budgeting, it is important to understand how it works.  I have found the following document to be the absolute best source of information:   Responsibility Center Management: Lessons from 25 Years of Decentralized Management by Jon C. Strauss and John R. Curry.   This is a relatively old document (2002), yet it is the most comprehensive and readable report on the principles, guidelines and details on how to make decentralized budgeting work.

Please consider the following quote from the preface of the report”

Decentralization is a natural act in universities. Decentralization of authority, that is.  Decentralization of responsibility is not a natural act.That requires intention and design.  Many academic leaders will say that most authority lies with the faculty in departments and schools, and most responsibility lies with central administrators. In many universities today, this state still obtains yet is more often lamented than addressed and managed.  Increasing numbers of institutions,however, are making explicit efforts to address such imbalances, to design organizational structures and incentives to make responsibility commensurate with authority, wherever that authority lies. The problem we address is the decoupling of academic authority from financial responsibility.

I highly recommend that you read this document as you consider new budeting models at your university.

from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


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triple bottom line BM-thumb-380x271-thumb-380x271Our most recent Dean candidate offered some interesting insights.  I thought that I would share a few.

  1. What do we mean by ‘engaged learning’  and ‘student focused learning’?   At Cornell University this means to advance academic service-learning, community-based research, and public scholarship across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines and programs.  At Lawrence University it means to create and sustain connections between the academic curriculum and community service.  At SMU is means a capstone-level, student driven research, civic engagement, professional internship or creative work that has clear project and clear personal learning goals.
  2. How would our decisions be different if we considered student success as our top priority?
  3. Do we agree on our ‘tagline’?  We must be on the same page as we move forward.
  4. Fundraising and stewardship of existing gifts.    Stewardship of existing gifts is extremely important.
  5. Must be an advocate for the college.  Internally within the university.  Externally with alumni and friends.   Don’t forget the students!
  6. Globalization.   Who will be your partners?
  7. Triple bottom line ( people, planet, profit) – the new buzz words related to sustainability and the environment.
  8. Thought leadership – how do we leverage this?
  9. Finale – How Do We Create the Future?  Put a proposal together and match it with the right donor.   Build relationships.

Overall I was impressed with this candidate’s ability to articulate their thoughts around academic leadership.   I am always pleased when I can learn a few things.  This candidate was able to ‘bundle’ their accomplishments into four categories: (1) strategic planning, (2) reputation building, (3) development, and (4) accreditation.  Good thinking!

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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NCCPEIn the United Kingdom there is a movement for research universities to better engage the public. The “Manifesto for Public Engagement”, as defined by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement [NCCPE], is listed below:

We believe that universities and research institutes have a major responsibility to contribute to society through their public engagement, and that they have much to gain in return.

We are committed to sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public, and to listening to and learning from the expertise and insight of the different communities with which we engage.

We are committed to developing our approach to managing, supporting and delivering public engagement for the benefit of staff, students and the public, and to sharing what we learn about effective practice.

A study by the UK Innovation Research Centre defines Four Modes of Interactions between Academics and External Organizations. (See: ‘Knowledge Exchange between Academics and Business, Public and Third Sectors,’Maria Abreu, Vadim Grinevich, Alan Hughes and Michael Kitson, uk-irc, (PDF))

People Based Activities

  1. attend conference
  2. participate in networks
  3. give invited lecture
  4. sit on advisory board
  5. assist with student placements
  6. employee training
  7. standard setting forums
  8. curriculum development

Community Based Activities

  1. give lecture for community
  2. school projects
  3. community exhibitions
  4. community-based supports

Problem Solving Activities

  1. informal advice
  2. joint research
  3. joint publication
  4. consultancy
  5. contract research
  6. research consortia
  7. hosting of personnel
  8. protyping and testing

Commercialization Activities

  1. formed consultancy
  2. patent
  3. licensed research
  4. company startup

Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.  (See: http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/what)

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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