University of Vermont

Former President Daniel Mark Fogel

Convening of Ad-Hoc Strategic Budget Advisors

November 14, 2008

From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President

To: Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, Richard Cate
Dean Domenico Grasso, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Vice President for Student and Campus Life, Thomas Gustafson
Provost and Senior Vice President, John M. Hughes
Vice President for Enrollment Management, Christopher Lucier
Associate Professor Herman “Bud” Meyers, Chair,
Faculty Senate Committee on Physical and Fiscal Priorities
Dean Eleanor Miller, Arts and Sciences
Dean Fayneese Miller, Educational and Social Services
Dean Betty Rambur, Nursing and Health Sciences
Mr. Jay Taylor, President, Student Government Association
Ms. Beth Walsh, President, Staff Council
Professor James Burgmeier, President-Elect Faculty Senate

Re: Convening of Ad Hoc Strategic Budget Advisers

I deeply appreciate your willingness to assist me as strategic budget advisers in our upcoming efforts to craft a viable budget plan in these troubled economic times. We will be working together to keep UVM on an even keel and to sustain the University’s advance by drawing on the abiding strength and impressive resourcefulness of the UVM family. We must be collaborative, creative, and courageous in framing the difficult decisions that lie ahead and that, I am convinced, we are obligated to make in ways that are strategic, sound, and readily understandable in the light of our core values and most important priorities. But make no mistake: the problems we face are very significant.

I want to ask you to do two things as strategic advisers. First, I am asking that you all meet together with me. I foresee two meetings (though I may impose upon you for additional meetings as circumstances require). At the initial meeting, next Tuesday, I would like through open and candid discussion to have your guidance on the core values, the enduring principles, and the broad approaches that should guide us as we work to reconcile the substantial gap in the FY 2010 budget. At the second, which will take place when the administration has substantially completed its work in preparing the preliminary FY2010 budget for Board review in January—keeping in mind that final Board approval does not come until May—I will meet with you again to share my perspective on how that budget work to date aligns with the values, principles, and broad approaches we will have discussed at the first meeting.

The second role that I hope you will play is as liaisons with the wider campus community both to bring to my attention the best thinking of University stake-holders on ways our community can move forward most effectively and efficiently and to help realistically inform stakeholders of the size and shape of our challenges. Members of the campus community are of course free to direct ideas and suggestions directly to me, but I would urge students, for example, to use Jay Taylor, as President of the Student Government Association, as the channel for ideas for transmission to the administration, for staff to do the same with Beth Walsh as President of the Staff Council, and soon. I would want each of you, as strategic budget advisers, both to pass on to me all communications received along these lines and also to highlight any communications or suggestions that you particularly wish to commend to my attention. In that way, I believe we can effectively draw on the ingenuity and acumen of the entire campus community.

Finally, in preparation for the meeting on Tuesday, I want to offer a few preliminary thoughts of my own. Perhaps having these thoughts now will help you to develop your own thinking in advance of our meeting on Tuesday.

My thoughts fall under two headings. First, with respect to values and principles, we must maintain the academic strength of the University by sustaining high quality, diverse student enrollment (therefore attending to student retention and graduation rates, student financial aid, and the quality of the student experience, with emphasis on the first-year experience) and by promoting and supporting scholarly quality (through faculty support and intense focus on high-quality graduate and research programs). Second, with respect to broad approaches to the work ahead, we must place considerable trust in our colleagues who are in the best position to make and implement decisions: for example, where strategically applied cuts and other austerity measures are required, the primary source for recommendations to me for such measures will be deans for the academic units and the responsible vice presidents for the administrative and support units.

I look forward to our meeting on Tuesday. Thank you very much again for your willingness to serve as strategic advisers at this time of both challenge and opportunity. We have much to accomplish in the weeks ahead.

cc: Campus Community

Last modified December 03 2008 08:03 PM

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