UAlbany Budget Updates
Message from President Philip on Fri, Feb 11, 2011
Dear Members of the Campus Community:
I would like to provide an update on the difficult and uncertain budgetary environment confronting our University. I am sure you are aware that the FY 2011-12 Executive Budget released last week consists of even greater state tax reductions and presents further challenges for SUNY and for UAlbany, beyond what our campus has absorbed to date.
While we are certainly making a strong case for restorations and other flexibility in this year's state budgeting process, we recognize the need to make contingency plans in order to address any shortfalls recommended in the Executive Budget. To assist me in shaping those plans, I have empanelled the fourth Budget Advisory Group (BAG IV). This group was formed in compliance with the provisions of the University Senate Bylaws for formal consultation, and in conjunction with the Governance Council as well as the Chair of the Senate and the Chair of the University Policy and Planning Council. The work of BAG IV will follow the three prior Budget Advisory Groups, as well as the values and direction articulated in the Middle States review and the recently announced UAlbany Strategic Plan. The members of BAG IV are listed in the "resources" section on the Budget Updates website (see www.albany.edu/budget).
I have asked BAG IV for two recommendations: First, I have asked for operating budget recommendations for continuing our forward progress in the near-term. The immediate challenge is to define a plan and pathway to meet commitments and needs in the 2011-12 academic year -- a year in which New York State will likely take additional fiscal actions that will further impact University programs and personnel in substantial and serious ways. In addition, we must not only address whatever decreases in State support result from the upcoming state budget process, but also continue our efforts to rebalance our resources and to deploy them where they are needed to respond to areas of strength, student demand for instruction, and opportunities for the future. Second, I have asked for a longer term look-- beyond 2011-12. In addition to the massive cuts in State tax dollar support taken to date, I, along with our entire campus community, remain increasingly concerned about the consequences of cumulative reductions into the foreseeable future, and how this will impact the scope and character of our academic and research programs, particularly given our insistence on high quality and excellence. So I have also asked for recommendations about what UAlbany will look like at the end of this period of our development - e.g., the menu of majors and degree programs we will offer, the quality of campus life and support we expect, the condition of our capital facilities and infrastructure, and how best to sustain and grow our strengths, pursue our strategic plan, respond to opportunity and student demand, and position the university for the future. I have asked for their recommendations by the beginning of April. Regular reports on the progress of deliberations will also be made to the University Senate along the way.
You should know that sustained efforts remain on-going to secure fiscal and regulatory relief for the University at Albany. Just yesterday our Chancellor Nancy Zimpher testified at the Joint Legislative Hearing of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways & Means Committees outlining the need for such measures. To read the Chancellor's testimony, you can visit: http://www.suny.edu/chancellor/speeches_presentations/2011executivebudgettestimony.cfm
While the weeks and months ahead may be difficult absent fiscal and regulatory relief from the State of New York, I am confident our campus community will pull together to overcome these dire budgetary challenges and continue our trajectory as a preeminent public research university.
I will continue to keep you apprised of future budget developments as they become available.
Thank you for your continued dedication and support of the University at Albany.
George M. Philip