Dear Staff and Faculty,
As we close out this academic year, begin plans and preparations for the next academic year and build FY22 budgets that will move us toward fiscal recovery, I want to ensure that we all have a shared and solid understanding of the challenges facing the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
Over the past year, the projected budget shortfall has been a moving target that shifted periodically as we learned more about our circumstances and our funding streams. These changing figures – while still quite large – have led some to doubt the seriousness of our situation or the need to respond swiftly or innovatively. While I also have wondered about what the exact number of our shortfall would turn out to be, one fact has become very clear to me. The university is facing a structural deficit that we must address through a wide variety of means and angles.
Since arriving on our campus just over a month ago, Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt has been very busy working with our finance and data teams to analyze the data and determine where we are in addressing our financial challenge and what is on the road ahead. Today, Jeff sat down with Chancellor Girod and me to review what he’s learned and offer his view of what we must do to progress to fiscal stability. You can view it here.
It’s a long chat, and well worth your time. Jeff brings a fresh perspective and optimism that comes from knowing fiscal recovery is possible. Everyone at KU who wants to understand and participate fully in our fiscal recovery, which I hope includes you, needs to watch this video. The good news is that Jeff agrees with the Chancellor and me in seeing the possibilities and the path that will help us recover. We also see the potential for great minds coming together to find new ways to do our teaching, research and work.
Jayhawks, there is still hard work and hard choices ahead for us. Addressing our situation will require focus, strategy, discipline and collaboration. I know you care so deeply about this institution, your colleagues and, of course, our students. Please watch the video.
Thank you for all you do for KU.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor