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K-State Today

November 17, 2017

From the President: Work Beginning to Modernize K-State's Budget Model

Submitted by President Richard Myers

Dear faculty and staff,

For a number of years now, Kansas State University, like many public universities across the nation, has been adapting to a changing funding model characterized by declining state and federal support, changing enrollment, and increasing operational costs. We have addressed some of our funding challenges through increased philanthropic giving, tuition increases, and across-the-board internal reallocations. However, our current incremental budget model is not dynamic enough to adjust to this new environment. Our current model does not reward units for growth and productivity, funding decisions made decades ago are locked in, and we are unable to effectively invest in strategic priorities for the future. This is why one of our top administrative priorities this year is the modernization of K-State’s historic budget model. 

Earlier this fall, the deans' council, vice presidents and I spent a day together exploring a framework for approaching this work with a representative from the Educational Advisory Board, or EAB. It resulted in a commitment to redesigning our budget model using the EAB framework as a guide. This framework, which you can review here, includes 13 key decision points to be considered as part of this effort.  

As recommended by EAB, we have established a core executive team and also a broader steering committee to accomplish this project.

The Core Executive Team will provide project oversight and determine key budget model decisions affecting the overall design of the new model. Joining me on the Core Executive Team are:

  • April Mason, provost and senior vice president
  • Cindy Bontrager, vice president for administration and finance
  • Ethan Erickson, assistant vice president for budget planning
  • Amit Chakrabarti, professor and dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • John Floros, professor and dean, College of Agriculture

The Budget Modernization Steering Committee is tasked with designing the finer points of the new budget model and making final recommendations to the Core Executive Team. Members include:

  • Ethan Erickson, assistant vice president for budget planning
  • Amit Chakrabarti, professor and dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • John Floros, professor and dean, College of Agriculture
  • Lori Goetsch, professor and dean, K-State Libraries
  • Debbie Mercer, professor and dean, College of Education
  • Duane Dunn, interim dean, Global Campus
  • Eric Higgins, professor and associate dean, College of Business Administration
  • Andy Bennett, professor and department head, mathematics
  • Patsy Havenstein, budget/fiscal officer, College of Engineering
  • Mandy Cole, director, administrative support center
  • Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing
  • Gary Pratt, chief information officer
  • Emily Lehning, associate vice president for student life and director of new student services

Ethan Erickson and Lynn Carlin, special assistant to the provost, will provide overall project management and coordination, facilitation, communication, and staffing support, reporting to the Core Executive Team. In addition, EAB will continue to provide consultation throughout the project. Additional staff support is being provided by Karen Horton, associate director, budget office; Michael Sala, assistant director, budget office; Cindy Hollingsworth, director of news and communication services; Tara Fronce, executive assistant for administration and finance; and Sandra Brase, program/project coordinator for Office of the Provost.

In addition, ad hoc teams consisting of subject matter experts and steering committee members will be formed in December. These teams will be tasked with determining cost allocation methodologies within the budget model for identified cost pools such as utility expenses and provide recommendations to the Steering Committee and Core Executive Team.

As we look to the future, our new budget model should, at a minimum, encourage enrollment growth, incentivize and align with K-State 2025 priorities, energize innovation, provide greater financial accountability, and preserve mission-critical activities in support of K-State’s land-grant mission. 

Work on the model will continue throughout the winter and spring with the recommended budget model completed by April 2018. This is an aggressive timeline for a very complex endeavor with major implications for our university. Updates on the progress of the teams will be published in future K-State Today articles. For now, you can find more information about the project by viewing the Budget Modernization website. 


Richard B. Myers