Financial Strategies for our Future
Sent on behalf of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff DeWitt, and Vice Provost for Finance Jason Hornberger.
We’ve made great strides in improving the fiscal health of KU. Thank you. Your role in managing your unit’s financial resources continues to make a difference.
Jeff DeWitt shared the 5-Year Financial Plan for KU Lawrence-Edwards on March 15. His talk with the Chancellor reviewed some of our past challenges, and more importantly, outlined initiatives that can carry us past our structural deficit to a position of fiscal health and sustainability. If you haven’t already, please take the time to watch the recording.
The Lawrence Journal-World last week published an overview of our strategic plan Jayhawks Rising. Our plan has great potential to ensure we remain a leading research institution that helps each student succeed and serves the region and the world. Even though we’ve cleared some hurdles, we know there are additional challenges ahead that will require many of us to think and work differently as stewards of the university. Now is a good time to confirm we are all working with a common understanding of the skills and approaches each of us needs to master in our respective positions and how we can best work together to achieve goals for our unit, as well as for our campus.
Our Lawrence-Edwards financial team have written down our budget roles and responsibilities. Many of these have been implied for some time. We’ve now reached a point where precision truly matters for us to achieve and maintain our shared fiscal wellbeing.
You can find the new Fiscal Roles and Responsibilities online, but here are a couple key points:
- All members of the campus community have a stake and are accountable for the financial results of the campus, which includes obligations to reduce waste and eliminate unneeded services.
- Everyone with direct fiscal responsibilities has an obligation to communicate and collaborate on fiscal matters.
- At the end of each fiscal year, performance must be balanced (budgets reconciled with actual revenue) at the campus and unit levels.
The document further identifies various positions on campus – from the Provost to PIs – and captures the fiscal responsibilities unique to each role. Please take a few minutes to see where you fit in and to understand the role of others on our campus.
An All-Funds Approach
Another initiative we’ve reviewed with deans, and that also applies to a wide swath of our campus community, is the need to draw from all funds available to our units and offices. These funds include course fees that assist specific academic units as well as KU Endowment funds that support any number of administrative and academic units.
Our strategic initiatives through Jayhawks Rising have great potential, although the yield will only be fulfilled with time. Drawing from all sources of funds – using them to support unit activities and needs – will help ensure we stretch our dollars until our broader university activities deliver rewards. This is a necessary approach to address our fiscal challenges and also to address the expectations students and donors have that these resources are used conscientiously and in a timely fashion.
We need to draw upon the savings in various units in order to rebuild the strength of our campus. We have received generous support from KU Endowment and through state and federal funds as a result of the pandemic. We must continue to gather and use all our resources in the spirit of stewardship.
Our Finance team is holding budget planning meetings to set goals and determine resources for FY23 for major units across campus. There is much we will cover in the days ahead.
We appreciate the sacrifices you’ve been asked to make and taken. We know you are dedicated to helping our campus be as strong and fiscally responsible as it can possibly be, and we are grateful for your partnership and stewardship. Our team is happy to answer your questions, and we are working with budget officers to ensure they are informed. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to your budget officer or send your questions to the KU Budget Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
Vice Provost for Finance