Strategic Budgeting, Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Central Unit Allocations
Who is included in the summarized faculty and staff headcount variable?

The faculty and staff headcount figure includes the following types of employees (as reported by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment):

  • Clerical and Secretarial

  • Executive/Admin and Managerial

  • Faculty

  • Instruction/Research Assistants

  • Other (student assistants and work-study students)

  • Other Administrative

  • Other Professionals

  • Service/Maintenance

  • Skilled Crafts

  • Technical and Paraprofessional

For purposes of calculating headcount, each employee represents a headcount of 1.

How are general purpose classrooms treated for purposes of assigning square footage?

Within the Campus Planning and Space Management system, general purpose classrooms are assigned to the Office of the Provost.

How were the allocation metrics for central units determined?

Like all other features of the strategic budgeting methodology, the central unit allocation variables were selected through a process of extensive study, comparison with peer institutions, and discussion with campus representatives. In general, the allocation variables were selected to balance simplicity and reliability with fit to actual use of administrative services.

How do outlying units impact the square footage calculation for the facilities central unit pool?

The allocation variable for the Facilities central unit cost pool is adjusted square footage, which is based on the annual space survey and includes only space maintained by the AU Facilities Division.

Will the college be allocated a portion of central administrative costs when duplicate support services are provided both by the college and centrally (IT, student services, career center, sponsored projects personnel, etc.)?

While a college or school may find it feasible or desirable to duplicate, customize, or extend central support services provided by the University, such as information technology support, ultimate responsibility for that function (including maintenance, upgrade, and compliance) lies with central administration. For that reason, no college or school is exempt from contributing to the central units.

Will the new budgeting method change how the Facilities Division operates? Will schools and colleges still have to pay for work Facilities does? Why is all square-footage assessed the same rate?

All central units will prepare their budgets consistent with resources needed to continue to provide current service offerings to the campus community. For the Facilities Division, any routine and preventative maintenance services that are provided today without additional charge, will likely continue to be provided without any additional cost. Other services may be provided on a fee-for-service basis. Capital projects are excluded from the Strategic Budget model. Allocation of Facilities support costs was done on a simple adjusted square footage basis in keeping with the Strategic Budgeting Steering Committee's guiding principle of simplicity and transparency. The use of square footage is the allocation method to fund the budget for the Facilities Division and not an assessment of the quality or market value of the space.

Since the support to the sponsored programs central unit pool is based on share of sponsored activities, is that a disincentive to participate in research?

Expenses associated with providing central support for sponsored-program activity are allocated just like all other central support costs—in a way that logically reflects approximate use of those services by each college or school. For that reason, colleges and schools with greater levels of sponsored activity will provide proportionately more funding to that central pool. However, an increase in sponsored-program expenditures does not necessarily result in an increase in cost to the revenue-producing unit, since the cost pool is allocated by proportionate-shares, not dollars. A unit could increase its sponsored-program expenditures and still pay a smaller share of the allocation for this central support service if other units also increase their levels of expenditure. Further, other elements of the Strategic Budget model approach provide an incentive to participate in sponsored activities. For example, a share of the Division I state appropriation is set aside to reward sponsored program success.

Last updated: May 14, 2021