A New Budgeting Model for Academic Departments, Part 1: Basic Elements

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Why redo department budgets at a time like this? There are so many other important considerations these days that this task might seem an unnecessary distraction. Well, we have just emerged from a pandemic; have experienced real, and likely permanent, losses of enrollment; and are dealing with significant inflation. There are also many news reports that higher education may not be financially worth the investment or even necessary for lifelong success. One need only consider the number of institutions that are closing and the even greater number that are cutting programs and staff due to financial shortfalls to realize that budgets will be tighter. In addition, it may be time to correct past circumstances that have left some departments generously supported and others under-resourced. As a dean, you might also welcome the opportunity to incentivize the budgeting process. Below, I describe some things you might consider when reconstituting how your school sets department budgets.

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