WASHBURN UNIVERSITY BOARD OF REGENTS
Budget/Finance Committee Meeting
March 31, 2004
Regents Present: Ben Blair, chair, Chuck Engel, Karen Lee
Regent Present by Teleconference: Jim Roth
Staff Present: Jerry Farley, Wanda Hill, Ron Wasserstein, Tom Ellis, Al Dickes, Chris Leach
Minutes of the October 3, 2003 meeting were approved as mailed.
Enrollment Report -
Al Dickes reported this was the highest ever Spring semester headcount. Full-time enrollment is increasing rapidly and we have had small increases in part-time enrollment. This should carry forward to fall which looks very positive for recruiting. Student retention has increased as the character of the student body has successfully been transformed to include a greater percentage of traditional students.
Regent Lee asked if Washburn would raise the bar on admission requirements as the enrollment numbers increase. President Farley indicated discussions have begun about possible changes in the standards and about other changes that may be necessary due to increased enrollment. Short term changes may include starting classes at 7:30 a.m., switching Monday/Wednesday classes to Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes, or adding more afternoon classes. Long term changes may mean changes are needed in classroom space. Discussion about changes is just in the beginning stages and will be discussed with the Board over the next six months or so.
Regent Blair asked how the average course load at Washburn compares with peer institutions. Mr. Dickes indicated it is somewhat lower due to the number of non-traditional students at Washburn, however, it is changing. Eight years ago the average course load at Washburn was 10 hours and now the average is over 11 credit hours.
In answer to Regent Engel's question about the male to female ratio, Mr. Dickes indicated Washburn correlates with the nationwide ratio.
Faculty Salaries -
President Farley reported six years ago Washburn's average faculty salary (excluding law) was 10.3% less than its peer institutions. Since that time progress has been made in reducing the difference, however, we must continue to work on maintaining competitiveness to compete in recruiting new faculty members. Washburn salaries currently rank about 2% behind the State regents schools.
Regent Blair indicated it is probably time to do a review of the School of Law budget. President Farley said a budget presentation, including a salary comparison with peer schools will be given to the Board in the next few months.
Regent Engel noted the salaries for Instructors at Washburn were higher than for the other schools and salaries for the other categories were lower than the other schools. Dr. Wasserstein indicated the rank of Instructor is being phased out and the rank of Lecturer is now more commonly used.
Regent Engel said the Associate Professor rank seems to lag most behind the regents schools. President Farley said an analysis on entry level faculty positions was done several years ago to help departments with new hire salaries. This will be reviewed again. He indicated we must remain competitive when hiring new faculty or we will never catch up.
When asked about lowering overall salaries by using more adjunct instructors and less full professors President Farley and Dr. Wasserstein indicated we will lose continuity if we don't have full-time faculty to devise curriculum, assess programs, and do advising.
Tuition Analysis -
President Farley indicated tuition at Washburn is still below the national average for peer institutions. KU and K State tuition is getting very close to Washburn's. He anticipates an 11-12% increase in tuition for the regents schools this year.
President Farley said we hope to get back to a regular budget schedule some day, however, this year it will probably be late June or early July before we bring a tuition recommendation to the Board. He indicated every 1% in tuition generates approximately $178,000 in revenue.
Fees at Washburn, compared to other institutions, were discussed. Washburn's only fee is a $62 student activity fee while fees at the regents schools range from $507 to $640.
When asked about a fee for use of the Student Rec Center, President Farley indicated although we may need to make an additional charge in the future, at the present time no additional fee is planned for student use of the Rec Center.
Mr. Dickes indicated student aid has increased proportionately with tuition increases. He said student aid is now double what it was ten years ago. Regent Blair remarked that years ago a lot of scholarships went unawarded. Mr. Dickes said scholarships are now over-awarded so it is no longer a problem.
Academic Initiatives - President Farley said operating budgets will be increased in individual departments but not across the board. We would like to seed some academic initiatives this year, including a general education core with a twelve credit hour requirement. President Farley indicated considerable effort will be needed to make this happen, but it will create a niche to make Washburn different from other institutions.
Stoffer Renovation - Dr. Farley indicated renovation of Stoffer Hall is long overdue, however, this project is still being defined.
Salary Program - State regents schools recommendation will probably be 3%.
Enrollment Driven Priorities -
Additional instructors may be needed for English, Math, History, Biology, and Criminal Justice.
Hiring a grant facilitator to work on getting additional grant money for academic programs.
Sales tax is up a bit this year. For FY 04, $750,000 was taken from the Smoothing Fund, but it is possible no further reduction of the Smoothing Fund will be necessary for FY 05.
The current year enrollment will be budgeted for next year. This gives us an opportunity to move the University forward by earmarking one-time money for special projects.
Internal Financial Control Consulting -
Vice President Hill reported BKD personnel have been on campus to assess internal processes on cash collections, financial reporting, and other financial transactions. They are on track for completion by the end of May. At that time a report will be presented to the Board.
Capital Budget Process -
In November information was sent to departments to request equipment and capital projects. During March and April the requests are being prioritized and decisions are made as to what equipment and projects can be funded. In May the list will be brought to the Board for review and approval.
Major Maintenance Funding Requirements - Five Year Projection was distributed. This will be discussed at the next Budget/Finance Committee meeting.
Meeting was adjourned.