Initiative Timeline

The Strategic Budgeting Initiative, a full and thoughtful consideration of the university's budget model, has its origins in informal conversations that have been ongoing for some time. At a retreat held with the Provost in September 2011, for example, the academic deans identified a number of priorities that needed to be addressed through the University's budget process that at present could be addressed only through ad hoc measures. Some of these priorities included correcting funding inequities between colleges, providing permanent funding to the Provost for strategic initiatives, and assuring funding to meet the instructional demands of the Core Curriculum. This retreat initiated ongoing discussions about Auburn's current budget model, elements of an "ideal" model, and the models in use at other institutions. These initial discussions culminated in January 2013, with the formal initiation of a due diligence process designed to ensure that the University can focus its resources on its mission and priorities.



January 17-18, 2013

Provost's Retreat with Deans: Extensive strategic plan discussions, a session on Auburn's current budget process, and a session on budget projections and overview.

January 28, 2013

Due diligence effort officially kick-offs. A Steering Committee is assembled and confirms conducting a current state assessment and developing and evaluating a funds flow model. This Steering Committee convenes approximately every two weeks through the end of May.

February 21, 2013

Steering Committee meets for a mid-point report update to:

  • Confirm Huron Education's understanding of funds flow, timeline, incentives, and reporting

  • Receive an overview of interview themes and appetite for change

  • Discuss guiding principles

  • Confirm next steps

March 7, 2013

Budget assessment results are shared with Steering Committee. Discussion focuses on:

  • Reviewing interview themes

  • Confirming guiding principles

  • Alignment analysis of funds flow, timeline, incentives, and reporting

  • Reviewing preliminary recommendations

  • Confirming next steps

April 4, 2013

Initiative update is provided to the full Provost's Council.

May 15, 2013

Due diligence effort is completed and a final Steering Committee discussion is held to consider Huron's recommendations for an "Auburn Model" and next steps in the Strategic Budgeting Initiative; meeting includes additional benchmarking information and recommendations.

September 30, 2013

University Budgeting presentation is made to the Executive Committee of the University Senate.

October 15, 2013

Steering Committee is reconvened, with two new members, to oversee next steps in the initiative, principally the specification of budget model methodology and the engagement of more members of the University community. The Steering Committee convenes approximately every two weeks through the end of December 2013.

October 2013

Individual discussions are held with the dean and business officer of each college and school. Discussion objectives include:

  • Reviewing previous and current efforts

  • Sharing an "actuals" income statement for FY2012

  • Providing an overview of the likely structure and data variables for a new budget model

  • Answering questions related to initiative efforts

  • Discussion with representatives of Divisions 3 and 4 were also held on the same topics in early November.

November 2013

Group discussions are held with the department heads/chairs of each college and school, beginning in November and finishing in early December. Additionally, a question and answer document is distributed to all deans and business officers, so that all could see questions that were asked during the October round of meetings and receive identical answers.

November 5, 2013

Strategic Budgeting Initiative presentation is made to the University Senate.

November 19, 2013

Provost hosts an Open Forum focused on the Strategic Budgeting Initiative and approximately 50 individuals are in attendance.

December 2013

A second round of individual discussions is held with deans and business officers, concluding in early January. Discussion objectives include:

  • Reviewing efforts to date

  • Reviewing a proposed budget model framework

  • Discussing preliminary model allocations

  • Discussing the concept of Mission Enhancement Funding

January 15, 2014

Provost hosts a second Open Forum on the Strategic Budgeting Initiative. For this discussion,  panelists from peer institutions visit Auburn University to describe and answer questions about resource allocation models at their institutions:

  • David Biedenbach, Assistant Vice President, Iowa State University

  • Matt Fajack, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, University of Florida

  • Dennis Irwin, Dean and Moss Professor of Engineering Education, Ohio University

  • Lisa Wilson, Associate Provost for Finance and Operations, University of Kentucky

  • Approximately 200 individuals are in attendance and the discussion is recorded (Link: Part 1, Part 2).

January 16, 2014

Provost's Retreat with Deans: Deans review an updated model methodology, amended to reflect feedback received during discussions with deans, business officers, and department chairs. By secret ballot, deans unanimously support moving forward to develop an incentive-based budget model for Auburn University.

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