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April 28, 2016

BPC to ask if data has been received

The University Senate budget policies committee (BPC) is taking steps to determine whether planning and budgeting committees (PBCs) are receiving budget data in accord with the provisions of the University’s Planning and Budgeting System (PBS) after several faculty members raised the issue in a recent Faculty Assembly session. (See April 14 University Times.)

“Faculty are concerned that they’re not getting budget data in their units in order to participate in the independent budget committees,” said BPC chair Beverly Gaddy. “The (PBS) document does expect that budget data will be available.”

Under the system, BPC is responsible for reviewing whether the PBS processes are followed and whether all constituencies involved are provided adequate opportunities to participate in the process and to be informed of its outcomes.

“How can we assure the PBCs are meeting as required and that they have the data needed to operate?” Gaddy asked.

BPC periodically has requested that the chief financial officer’s staff canvass units to ensure PBCs exist where required.

An expanded survey is being considered to ask, in part, whether units’ PBCs are receiving the necessary budget data. Art Ramicone, senior vice chancellor and CFO, offered to bring the existing questionnaire to BPC to enable the committee to decide what it would like to ask.

Committee member Phil Wion noted as well that BPC at one time would publicize the PBS in an annual letter in the University Times.
“It would be good to get back into both of those routines,” he said.

Wion also recommended that the attribution study be more widely circulated in a usable form to inform PBC members about the broader financial picture.

The release of the attribution report has been a point of contention in recent years. (See Jan. 6, 2011, University Times.) BPC most recently received the study, which shows costs and revenues for each responsibility center, in closed session in 2014.

The PBS document states, however, that the most recent revenue and cost attribution study should be distributed as part of the historical data provided to senior vice chancellor areas, responsibility centers and departments at the start of each operational planning and budgeting cycle. (See Letters)

A survey in conjunction with the Senate’s recent review of the PBS document found low knowledge of the PBS among respondents, as well as some concerns about transparency and whether the system was being followed. (See March 31 University Times.)

BPC has requested more data, which David DeJong, executive vice provost and liaison to BPC, said his office would provide, after ensuring respondents’ anonymity is preserved.

Freshman recruiting update
DeJong promised to bring an update on enrollment to BPC in May. He said the University is aiming for a smaller incoming freshman class in Pittsburgh this fall. Pitt’s target is 3,850 freshmen — 20 fewer than last year’s goal.

DeJong said the goal had been increased when freshman housing in Nordenberg Hall opened, but the University is tapering back to a more “steady state” so as not to strain existing housing and lab space.

The University enrolled a larger-than-expected 4,054 freshmen in fall 2015. (See Sept. 17, 2015, University Times.)

As of mid-April, the number of paid admits at the Pittsburgh campus was roughly in line with the reduced goal.

Direct applications to Pitt’s regional campuses are up, DeJong said. As of April 14, paid admits had filled about half of the incoming class at the regionals.

BPC’s next meeting is set for 2 p.m. May 20.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

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