Last July, Miami University implemented a new budgetary system where, instead of having each college’s dean distribute money to the departments within their schools, individual departments will now apply to the provost’s office for funding.
This new “agility-focused” system will provide less funding to programs with declining popularity or enrollment. David Creamer, the university vice president for finance and business services and treasurer, explained that the provost will make financial decisions for each department.
To keep up with Miami’s growing student population and the increasing popularity of new programs, Osborne said the provost’s office reformed the budget to give more assistance to the people and programs that he deems are in the most need based on the university’s greatest investment.
Other university faculty have speculated as to which colleges will receive the most money and questioned the motives behind the “agility-focused” budget. Creamer insisted that the program is more about overall “opportunities of growth and expansion.”
“Deans and their interests are not being ignored,” Creamer said, stressing that all proposals will be given equal consideration.
Despite Creamer’s assurance, some university faculty members remain highly critical of the new program.
“As far as I can see, we aren't deciding what we want to be as an institution and then budgeting based on that,” Classics professor Steven Tuck wrote in an email to The Student. “Instead, we seem to be prioritizing recruiting and admitting as many students as possible (the numbers are going up every year), slashing costs (except intercollegiate athletics with their $25 million annual deficit) and then trying to create programs to appeal to those students.”
Creamer said the university will invest in new programs and high-demand areas, like nursing and e-sports.
Creamer said each academic division can make funding requests with a Boldly Creative proposal or by presenting the faculty positions that need to be filled. The Boldly Creative program is a multi-year initiative emphasizing data, analytics and programs that span traditional disciplines. The requests are reviewed by Osborne and the dean of each college. Ultimately, Osborne makes the final decision on where funds will be distributed.
While the previous Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) program was once considered to be effective, finance and business services determined the program was no longer benefitting the university to its highest capacity.
“My hope is that programs who are seeing declines in majors or enrollment will look for opportunities to rethink what they do and how they communicate their deep and unquestioned value to attract new interest,” Osborne said.
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“We're told that we need to create majors and programs for failed Farmer School of Business admits, so they don't leave the institution,” he wrote. “In my honest opinion, the academic profile of the institution should not be driven by the desperate need to retain failed business students.”
The university already has plans for the funds freed up by the new budgeting system. A new health sciences building is on the docket, which would provide a home for the Oxford campus’ new nursing program. The university did not previously have enough funding for this new building, but it can now be made possible by allocating more funds from the new centralized budget.
The engineering and computer science programs are also taking priority, as it was determined that these rising programs had funds disproportionate to their growing financial needs, Creamer said.
The deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and Farmer School of Business, Chris Makaroff and Marc Rubin, declined to comment on the new budget.
The deans for the College of Education, Health and Society and Engineering and Computing, Michael Dantley and Marek Dollár, were out of town and repeatedly unable to be reached for comment.
The dean of the College of Creative Arts, Elizabeth Mullenix, could not be reached for comment.