Committee, consultant begin work on new budget model
The team that will guide the University of Nebraska–Lincoln through the process of adopting a new budget model is in place.
Project leaders include an executive committee, which includes Chancellor Ronnie Green’s executive leadership team; a steering committee made up of 18 individuals representing colleges, departments and programs across the university; and an outside project consultant.
During his State of the University address on Jan. 15, Green announced that the university would be moving forward into final planning for implementation of a new budget allocation model. The change is a result of a task force recommendation following a full review of the university's existing budget system. The report recommended the university move toward a hybrid Responsibility Center Model.
“I am confident that this will be a significant move forward for the campus,” Green said. “I consider it to be among our highest short-term priorities.”
RCM or incentive-based budgeting is a management philosophy designed to support achievement of the university’s mission by decentralizing budget authority or transferring it from central administration to individual schools or programs.
“As a public institution, we are charged with continuously exploring better ways of allocating our funding,” said Bill Nunez, interim vice chancellor for business and finance. “Finding a more efficient budget model that creates more transparency is a big part of our responsibility to be the best stewards of taxpayer money.”
Nunez is co-chairing the steering committee along with Kathy Farrell, dean of the College of Business. Phil Berlie, executive director of university budget and business operations, will serve as project manager.
Other members of the steering committee are: Alecia Kimbrough, assistant dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Becky Zavala, assistant vice chancellor for research and economic development; Chuck O’Connor, dean, College of Fine and Performing Arts; Fred Choobineh, director of EPSCOR and professor of electrical engineering; James Volkmer, assistant vice chancellor for budget, planning and analytics; Jeff Bassford, assistant vice chancellor for business and finance, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Jennifer Clarke, Professor in Food Science and Technology and Statistics; Jim Jackson, assistant vice chancellor for facilities maintenance and operations; Ken Bloom, professor, physics and astronomy; Mark Button, dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Mark Riley, associate dean, College of Engineering; Mary LaGrange, associate vice chancellor for business and finance, and controller; Phil Berlie, executive director of university budget and business operations; Ron Yoder, senior associate vice chancellor, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Tim Carr, associate vice chancellor and dean of graduate education; and Wes Peterson, professor of agricultural economics, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Through a competitive bid process, the Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group was selected to assist the university with management and implementation of the new budget model redesign.
The implementation process is expected to take more than a year. The first phase, which has begun, consists of an assessment of the university's current budget process and development of a new budget model that aligns with the institution's overall mission and strategies.
Full implementation of the new budget model is expected to begin July 1 with the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget.