Budget Challenges for FY23 and Workload Adjustments
As you are aware, FY22 marks the third and final year of the “compact” between Governor Dunleavy and the UA Board of Regents to reduce UAs operating budget by $70 million. UAF was responsible for nearly half of the reductions taken by the UA system. This is also a period where COVID-19 posed additional fiscal challenges.
We have seen a slight uptick in the FY23 budget compared to FY22. We also have several enrollment and research initiatives; philanthropic efforts; facilities footprint reduction and monetization plans; and a differentiated tuition strategy in place to rebuild our revenue streams. However, these measures still fall short to meet the fiscal challenges in some of the academic units that report to me. I have asked the deans and directors to continue to manage administrative costs, limit discretionary spending, and assign faculty workloads for FY23 carefully considering the teaching needs as well as the revenue and expenditures within their units.
These decisions may require adjustment to teaching workloads for faculty. This guidance is not new. The deans and directors have been using multi-pronged strategies for budget management for several years now. Units reporting to me vary greatly. No single across-the-board strategy works for budget management, and the deans/directors must make adjustments that work best for their units. Consequently, one college may see more changes in teaching workload assignments than another. Even within one unit, faculty with lower research engagement may be assigned greater teaching responsibilities than faculty with a very high research productivity to continue our drive to achieve Tier 1 research status.
To meet curricular needs, a dean may rebalance a faculty member’s workload to (a) teach an additional course; (b) team teach an additional course; (c) teach a high-demand course instead of a low-enrollment course, where possible; (d) work to create a new course/program or revitalize an existing course/program based on enrollment planning efforts; (e) make additional changes to meet academic needs, while ensuring that the assignment is consistent with the terms of the UNAC collective bargaining agreement. The deans and I agree that any additional teaching workload will need to be accommodated by reduced workload and expectations in teaching activity other than formal courses, research and /or service.
For faculty members who have a joint appointment with a research institute, the dean will work collaboratively with the director in assigning workloads. Any increased teaching expectation will be appropriately modified for joint appointment faculty. As an example, a rebalancing of the workload for a faculty with a 100% appointment in a college may result in an additional course per year, while for a faculty with a 50:50 split appointment, the rebalancing of the workload may result in an additional course every other year. The administrator will also make all reasonable efforts to consult with the faculty member in the event of a major change to the proposed workload, or answer questions from the faculty member about the assignment.
I recognize that this is a difficult step at an already challenging time, and I do not take this lightly. The deans and I agree that the workload changes are not permanent. They need to be monitored and adapted again as the fiscal situation and unit needs change. As revenues build up and new faculty hires are put in place, the teaching workloads can be reduced and readjusted. I thank you for working together to overcome the current challenge and playing a key role in rebuilding UAF.
Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor