An update on the budget modernization process was shared with The University of Toledo Board of Trustees during its December meeting.
The process is among the key initiatives identified by President Gregory Postel to move to an incentive-based budget model that increases transparency, better strategically allocates resources and enhances data-informed decision making.
The leaders of the initiative team, Sabrina Taylor, associate vice president of budget and planning, and Brenda Grant, associate vice president for academic finance, described the four parts of the process: budget model design, academic portfolio review, financial opportunity assessment and executive advisory support.
In partnership with Huron Consulting Group Inc., the University engaged a steering committee and interviewed more than 50 stakeholders to create an initial incentive-based budget model that decentralizes the budgeting process and empowers colleges and units to manage their revenues and expenses in support of their goals aligned with the University’s mission.
The incentive-based model, which will be in place for the upcoming fiscal year 2023, increases transparency with the creation of a governance structure that includes review committees for the academic budget and support units that then flow up to a university-wide budget committee.
As part of the process to create the new budgeting model, and in collaboration with the deans, an academic portfolio review was undertaken to develop a framework for detailing the revenues and expenses involved in delivering instruction. Ongoing academic cost management will look at curriculum, overhead costs, coursework and instructor compensation to identify opportunities for efficiencies and investment.
With the expertise of Huron, the University also conducted a financial opportunity assessment that looked at UToledo data, benchmarks of other higher education institutions and stakeholder interviews to identify potential cost reduction, revenue enhancement and strategic opportunities for the institution. The University will review those opportunities, such as optimizing its inventory of software products and exploring opportunities to leverage its portfolio of high demand programs, in the coming months and years.
Trustees also heard an update on the performance of The University of Toledo Medical Center, which has received provisional approval to move to a Level 2 Trauma Center. The hospital is currently recruiting personnel and making plans to begin providing that enhanced level of trauma care in the spring.
Trustees approved equipment purchases for UTMC that are part of planned capital projects to be invested with a one-time $21 million capital reserve to invest in the hospital.
A $784,500 investment in a new fluoroscopy suite will enhance x-ray capabilities with higher quality real-time moving images on a new unit with a higher weight limit to accommodate more patients. Another $775,000 was approved for the purchase of a new nuclear camera used for taking images of the heart when patients come to the hospital with chest pains. The upgrade will provide scans that are faster and cleaner and use less radiation.
The Board also approved a $1.14 million wireless infrastructure update to replace 1,558 wireless access points inside multiple buildings and outdoor antennas in six locations. The update will account for approximately 40% of the campus wireless network and will provide more network capacity and improved cybersecurity.
In addition, trustees approved the administration to move forward the Ohio Department of Administrative Services process that gives state agencies approval to divest of property. While there are no immediate plans for the properties, they are not part of the University’s multiple campus master plan. The properties include the Driscoll Center, NWO Medical Technology Center, Glendale Medical Center, EDUCARE and an easement on Secor Road.