This is the final post in my short series on the role of the Dean’s Advisory Council in implementing our strategic planning priorities and evaluating other resource needs. My earlier posts focused on the DAC’s role in (1) determining how much money is available and (2) identifying and evaluating the specific investments needed to implement all of our priorities. The final piece of the puzzle may be the most challenging.
In allocating the School’s scarce resources, how do we balance our strategic priorities against each other and against other new and existing positions and activities?
My goal is to implement all of the recommended strategic priorities that emerged from our planning process. It was a good process and we are making progress. In addition to those strategic priorities, however, there are other potential claims on our limited resources. New opportunities will emerge that were not a part of our planning process, and we will need to decide their relative importance when compared with our listed priorities. We need to be flexible. Faculty and staff positions may become vacant. In those cases we must decide whether to allocate the funds for the same work, or whether to reallocate the money for something else. There will not be enough money to do all of the things we want to do, especially in light of future state budget cuts. That is the one certainty in this uncertain time.
I want the DAC to help me develop criteria for making these decisions about the best allocation of our limited funding. Tom and I will develop a draft set of criteria based on some that an earlier committee used to make these kinds of decisions. Any set of criteria is largely subjective, and we will not postpone making decisions this year until we have developed a definitive set. Instead, we will adopt a set of working criteria that will include our evolving indicators of impact. It will be a start and they will change over time.
The DAC will use those working criteria to advise me on whether our strategic priorities or other significant requests for support should receive funding. This may mean deciding that some strategic priorities are more important than others in terms of immediate funding and implementation. We almost certainly will need to stage our investments over time. It also may not be possible to make all funding decisions at the same time during the fiscal year, which means that I will seek advice from the DAC on a rolling basis if necessary to move ahead with new and existing activities.
Finally, I also will seek the DAC’s advice on whether to reallocate resources from current activities to other activities that are likely to have a greater impact, including our new strategic priorities. This is not something that I would do lightly. I will take responsibility for identifying those activities—the DAC will not generate those recommendations, but I will want their advice about them.