Solid Steps Forward to Enhance the RBB Model

We continue to take solid steps forward in our pursuit to enhance the RBB model. The aims of this letter are to express my appreciation for the work done by the task force assigned to this undertaking and also update you about our progress since my June 5, 2014, letter to the community.

The faculty-led task force thoroughly reviewed how the University’s responsibility-based budget (RBB) model meets our needs and aligns with our strategic priorities, and made thoughtful recommendations to refine our current budget model. Steering those recommendations were guiding principles — such as assigning revenues and costs to units in a fair and predictable manner, and incentivizing units to increase revenues and reduce costs while holding excellence paramount — all meant to ensure transparency in communications and budgetary transactions, and to reward behaviors and decisions that drive our commitment to being a preeminent research university.

The work of the task force was essential and will help us chart a definitive course for how we modify the model. After careful review and analysis of recommendations and in order to minimize significant disruptions, the Provost’s Office, in collaboration with the Budget Office and the Deans, has proposed a phased approach to implement changes. First, FY16 will be an interim year for alterations, using a model that is modestly revised from the current one to address several of the task force’s key recommendations. These changes are outlined in a one-page summary on the Budget Office website.

Using the task force’s work as our foundation, the Provost’s Office and the Budget Office are partnering with colleges to determine the best means to operationalize those recommendations for the long term. We will ensure any changes to the budget model align with the strategic plan being released in the coming weeks and that our relentless commitment to academic excellence and consequentiality guide our budgetary model and decisions. That is vital because we must allocate our resources in ways that effectively support our strategic priorities, comprehensive vision and mission. We will communicate regularly with the UD community regarding academic priorities and how resources are used to support them, and will likewise ensure that any future alterations in the financial model are shared as well.

RBB places greater accountability on deans, and I am appreciative of their engagement and leadership in this thorough reworking of the model.

These are complex but exciting times. Given the challenging educational landscape we face, financial decisions must directly support our values and goals. I am thankful to everyone involved and am confident in our ability to be the daring and bold leaders who will help UD uphold our commitment to being a university that is consequential — today and tomorrow.

With a Daring Spirit Bold, Delaware Will Shine,

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Domenico Grasso
Provost & Professor