Note: Principles are to be taken as a whole and are not in ranked order.
- Maintain centrality to mission and adhere to Puget Sound’s core values: excellence, justice, leadership, creativity, respect, courage and inclusion
- Preserve quality of educational experience for students
- Maintain competitiveness in the higher education marketplace
- Use strategic plan to drive resource allocations
- Encourage innovative deployment of resources
- Expect maximum operating efficiency and effectiveness
- Expenditure levels must be within available revenues and responsive to economic and market conditions
- Balance the budget with long-term benefits in mind
- Added: Maintain our commitment to transparency about and input in to budget and operational decision-making
Feedback from Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, LEAD Members, Board of Trustees Executive Committee
The above principles are informed by responses to the following questions received by the President and President’s Cabinet from Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, with 10 responses from LEAD members (one of which represented the views of several individuals within the same division). The principles will guide the work of the newly appointed Budget Adjustment Group and Operational Planning Group.
Question 1: From the faculty/staff perspective, would you recommend any revisions, additions or removals from the summary of guiding principles as we consider dual-track planning and any necessary budget reductions in this very challenging and uncertain environment? Would you prioritize certain principles over others?
The significant majority of respondents affirmed the principles. A small number of suggestions were made to amplify or revise the principles, including the addition of shared sacrifice across administration and faculty/staff members; transparency in decision-making; and supporting and promoting the physical, mental, and financial wellbeing of staff and faculty. There were two requests to amend existing principles: “encourage and reward innovative deployment of resources,” and “preserve quality of educational experience for students and the building of their lifelong relationship to Puget Sound.”
Respondents were most interested in making sure that faculty, staff and students are involved in budget decisions and that there is a high degree of transparency throughout the process. With a few exceptions, most respondents prioritized adherence to mission and core values and preserving the educational experience for students. The Faculty Senate and Staff Senate support creation of a faculty-staff committee that includes student representation to guide budget adjustment decisions, working in support of the Budget Task Force and focusing on maintaining our commitment to liberal arts education. Staff Senate encourages avoiding short-term savings that may have negative long-term consequences. Several staff members ask for grace and flexibility as we navigate a new normal, prioritize goals, and set realistic expectations.
Question 2: What do you see as the key areas of input needed from faculty and staff leadership to inform our decision making?
Most respondents prioritized consultation with faculty, staff, and students as an essential part of the decision-making process, especially related to how we move forward with campus operations, employment, compensation, and development of new initiatives or consolidation of existing programs. Suggestions were made to consult with department heads before layoff decisions are made, to ask directors and department heads to provide minimum staffing and budget needs for each contingency, and to survey the staff to see what their needs are and what they are willing to do to support the institution, their colleagues and students.
Respondents expect decisions to be made in a timely, transparent and consultative manner. Input is particularly needed from those who are integral to enrollment and retention of students, and those who provide the education and services necessary for their success and persistence. Faculty recommend reviewing a list of adaptive, forward-thinking ideas on the Faculty Governance list. Staff recommend that we be mindful of mental health needs during and following the crisis and focus on making socially-just decisions.