Campus representatives discuss budget initiatives at summit
Radford University faculty, staff, students and administrators discussed budget planning processes at the first-ever, day-long budget summit on Sept. 9.
The event brought together 113 participants that collectively represented the entire Radford University family.
“As part of the Radford University family, we are meeting here today to engage in an important discussion about the fiscal outlook of the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as the potential impacts on Radford University,” said Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill.
Hemphill called for the Radford University family to “stay on the cutting edge.”
“We must think outside the box,” Hemphill said. “We must find our niche. We must break down our silos and begin to look at our work from an interdisciplinary approach. That truly begins today.”
Interim Provost Joseph Scartelli cited a survey of university presidents, CFOs and academic leaders, which stated that the biggest challenge to institutional planning is integrating the planning and budget processes.
“That is a major reason why everyone is gathered here today,” Scartelli said.
Scartelli emphasized the main reason behind the Budget Planning Summit: students.
“Among these representative groups are the students who are joining us right from the start,” Scartelli said. “For the students who are here, a special thank you for your contributions today and also for your contributions going forward. Everything we do is about you and everything we do is for you. When the time comes to begin looking at the future, your input, your perspective and your voice will be front and center.”
Virginia Department of Planning and Budget Associate Director of Education and Transportation Michael Maul briefed summit attendees regarding the state’s budgeting process and future projections.
“You are such a welcoming university,” Maul said. “Just the nature of everyone here – it’s really wonderful to come visit. I love seeing the evolution that’s been occurring here.
“There is the general fund revenue that is derived from our income taxes and our sales taxes,” Maul continued. “That’s our general fund and the main source of funds. The general fund is what people fight over all the time because it is the discretionary pot of money. It’s the pot of money that is used for just about everything the state government does.”
Maul also covered the process through which Radford’s funding requests go.
Maul wrapped up his talk by telling the faculty that “this is your chance.”
“You guys see it day-to-day and can offer suggestions of how to better do things,” Maul said.
Before the representatives split into break-out groups, Hemphill said, “This summit is truly about big ideas. Nothing should be off the table. Nothing at all.”
Topics were assigned to each breakout group, which covered the following areas:
- Revenue generation
- Economic development
- Programmatic strategies
Faculty Senate President Carter Turner, leader of one of the breakout groups, enjoyed the inclusion of the Budget Planning Summit.
“I think this is a much more inclusive process than what we have had before,” Turner said. “Instead of ten people working on this, you now have over 100. We’ll be able to see what the different groups come up with. This is very helpful.”
During the break-out sessions, Turner wanted to focus on finding a way to make Radford University’s academic product more accessible.
Professor Stephen Owen likes the transparency that President Hemphill is taking regarding the budget planning process.
“It certainly builds transparency of the process,” Owen said. “It allows everyone to be involved. I think that is of value. I think this is also a great way to generate ideas that would not otherwise be generated by bringing together such a diverse group of people.”
One of the students participating in the summit was senior media studies major Kevon DuPree, who also serves as the student representative to the Board of Visitors.
“The main reason all of this is taking place is because of the students,” DuPree said. “We get an insight into the funds and what the university is doing with the money we have to generate in order to attend. I think it is a good perspective that hopefully more students will be able to gain.”
Dupree sees students as an integral part of the process.
“One thing that I am really passionate about is leadership, particularly with males,” DuPree said. “It’s surprising that to myself – and to the administration as well – that by the numbers, males don’t come back to school as often as females. I want to bring up the idea of a male student leadership initiative and create a program where we can have males become more involved.”
Faculty approved of the inclusion of the student in the budget planning process.
“I think that having the proactive insight of whoever organized this to incorporate students – and multiple students – on each panel was brilliant,” Owen said. “Again, it includes voices that too often go unheard.”
Each breakout group collaborated to create a presentation that featured between three to seven ideas within each of their assigned topics.
Scartelli concluded the summit by thanking the participants for their creative thinking and by thanking everyone on President Hemphill’s staff. The recommendations of the breakout groups will be published to the campus in the near future.