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 A Message to the UMSL Community, April 2017

The issue of budget concerns is one that is shared system-wide and affects each campus to varying degrees. For an extensive period of time, UMSL has been involved in budget realignment and planning brought about by a commitment to create and maintain a balanced budget and to grow the institution in a sustainable manner. This process is enabling us to effectively manage the new challenges presented by reductions in state funding. UMSL has already undertaken both revenue enhancement and campus productivity measures which will materially contribute to a balanced budget. 

While funding cuts do present real difficulties, activities such as the expansion of in-state tuition to the entirety of Illinois, the opening of the Science Learning Center, Optometry Clinic and the upcoming new College of Business Administration Building each send strong messages regarding UMSL’s durability and plans for growth. 

The UM System has challenged the campuses to take an objective look at academic and nonacademic programs to determine those that best meet the mission of the university and provide the maximum benefit to our communities. We are specifically challenged to identify those programs of excellence which we can support and grow, as well as create new programs of excellence.  With that objectivity comes the requirement to identify those activities which don’t or no longer meet those standards, or no longer have sufficient demand – those which we can no longer support. 

The entirety of the UMSL campus can be assured that our budgetary realignment activities undertaken over the last two years have bettered our position to face the challenges facing the UM System and its campuses.

Please know that we are establishing a rich communications process to keep you informed of the progress toward both a sustainable balanced budget and a campus where excellence is recognized as universal to all we do.

Thank you,

Tom George, Chancellor
Kristin Sobolik, Provost
Rick Baniak, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance
 

Introduction to Budget Planning

The University of Missouri–St. Louis and the University of Missouri System as a whole are facing a period of significant budget constraints that will require us to take bold actions to become a stronger academic institution in both the short- and long-term. To provide some context, the University of Missouri System’s share of the state’s current FY17 budget withholds is $37 million, with the potential for $57 million in permanent cuts in the Governor’s proposed FY18 budget and the possibility of future reductions. Complicating these financial challenges, we continue to address declines in enrollment, a continuing trend facing universities around the country.

The UM System president has directed chancellors, provosts, chief financial officers and UM System leadership at the central office to develop and execute both short-term and long-term plans for budget reductions based on a set of guiding principles included below. The UM System's budget planning website shares the process to implement a long-term plan to address the budget impacts in FY18 and beyond.

Addressing our budget challenges will require an overall budget cut between 8% to 12% throughout the UM System. It is important to emphasize that we cannot rely on reserve funds to solve structural problems created by permanent budget reductions. We also affirm that the financial challenges that we face will not be addressed with across-the-board cuts. Therefore, final budget cuts (which can range from 0% to 12%) for units will vary depending on the programs of excellence that need to be supported. As part of this process, we also will need to make new investments to grow the programs of excellence that are not sufficiently funded.

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Budget Planning Process

UM System leadership, including each campus' leadership, will develop plans to address the budget cuts. Cuts will not be across the board and may include:

  • Operating support
  • Separation of staff and faculty
  • Consolidation of units to reduce administrative costs
  • Closing of centers and institutes
  • Closing of degree programs with low enrollment
  • Centralization or shared services for administrative operations including IT, HR, Finance and Research

Leadership will develop budget plans in close collaboration with their respective deans and department heads and in consultation with faculty, staff and students. The president and chancellors will make final decisions after careful review. This process will be directed by the guiding principles and timeline. 

As part of the cuts, all campuses need to:

  • Identify programs to be protected with supporting performance measures that indicate excellence in:
    • Research and creative work
      • Extramural grants
      • Journal articles
      • Academic books
      • National awards
      • Juried performances and exhibits
      • Doctoral degree conferrals and prominent placement of graduates
      • National rankings of programs
      • Other research and creative work contributions
    • Education
      • Enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students
      • Degree conferrals
      • Student credit hours
      • Teaching effectiveness
      • Retention rate
      • Graduation rate
      • Placement rate
      • National awards for students
      • Other educational contributions
    • Community, national and global engagement
    • Student, faculty and staff diversity
  • Identify programs that no longer meet the goals of excellence and those that we can no longer afford to support and provide justifications based on the performance measures provided above.
  • Identify new programs or investments that can grow revenue as well as improve the performance measures provided above.

As part of the cuts, the central office's general officers need to:

  • Identify programs to be protected, with supporting documentation, that indicate excellence or are critical to the success of the University.
  • Identify programs that we can no longer afford to support.
  • Identify new programs or investments that can grow revenue as well as improve the University's performance measures or provide savings that can be reinvested in the academic mission.
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Guiding Principles

In April 2017, the UM System president directed chancellors, provosts, chief financial officers and leadership at the central office to develop and execute both short-term and long-term plans for budget reductions based on the following guiding principles. The principles served as our compass as we sought to protect activities and programs that best support the mission of our university and provide maximum benefit to our communities, our state and the nation.

  • Challenge the status quo and long-held traditions that are impediments to change.
  • Make strategic decisions based on performance measures of excellence.
  • Protect programs of excellence for faculty research and creative works, student outcomes, community engagement and financial aid.
  • Be transparent, collaborative and accountable in making important decisions that affect the institution with input from faculty, students and staff.
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Planning Timeline and Communications

April 3, 2017

  • UM System announced guiding principles for short- and long-term budget planning process. 
    • UM System and UMSL administration joint message to UMSL faculty and staff (PDF)
    • UM System and UMSL administration joint message to UMSL students (PDF)
  • Campus leadership scheduled meetings with deans, department heads and other stakeholders to discuss process for identifying programs of excellence to protect and programs to eliminate to meet the budget cuts.

May 8, 2017

  • Message from UM System President Mun Choi - Engage in the budget planning process (PDF)

May 10, 2017

  • Campus plans shared with the university community for input. Plans consisted of:
    • Short-term plans of cuts toward the target that had already been identified to be included in the campus budget.
    • Long-term plans of the process, timeline and dollar targets to be followed to identify and realize further cuts to fill the budget gap through the remainder of fiscal year 2018.
  • Message from UMSL Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rick Baniak (PDF) (Attachment PDF)

May 19, 2017

  • Campus plans submitted to the UM System president.
  • Message from UMSL Chancellor Tom George, Provost Kristin Sobolik, and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rick Baniak (PDF) (Attachment PDF)
  • Message from UM System President Mun Choi - Budget planning update (PDF)

May 26, 2017

  • UM System president reviewed/discussed plans with campus leaders to ensure that programs of excellence are protected

May 30, 2017

  • Message from UM System President Mun Choi - Invitation to Live Budget Address (PDF)

June 2, 2017

  • Message from UM System President Mun Choi - Invitation to Live Budget Address (PDF)
  • Message from UMSL Chancellor Tom George - Invitation to Live Budget Address and Town Hall (PDF)
  • President Choi outlined UM System, campus budget plans for FY2018 (News Release)

June 7, 2017

  • UMSL Town Hall held from 10 to 11 a.m. in Summit Lounge, JC Penney Building

July 21, 2017

  • Memo from President Choi, Expenditure Reductions (PDF)

August 24, 2017

  • Message from President Choi, Systemwide Budget Update (PDF)

August 30, 2017

  • Message from UMSL Chancellor Tom George, Provost Kristin Sobolik, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rick Baniak, and Vice Chancellor for Advancement Martin Leifeld (Link)
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Feedback

A series of open meetings and forums were held throughout the budget planning process allowing the campus community to participate and take a critical look at our organization to meet the goals of this budget process. The final budget planning forum was held June 7, 2017 as an UMSL Town Hall with remarks from Chancellor Tom George, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rick Baniak, and Provost Kristin Sobolik. In addition, an anonymous feedback form was available throughout the planning process to gather suggestions on how the university could save on expenses and grow revenues to further strengthen our budgetary position.

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