Chancellor Message 1/6/10

Message to Campus
RE fiscal crisis

Dear Colleagues,

By now all of you have seen yesterday’s message from Interim President Ikenberry regarding short-term measures to conserve cash. The difficult but necessary steps announced yesterday are a consequence of eight years of severe financial pressures leading up to the extraordinary situation in the current fiscal year.

We certainly recognize the hardship that these budget reduction strategies place upon you. While we regret the actions that must be taken, we emphasize the spirit of shared sacrifice as our university copes with the worst economic challenges since the Great Depression. For more information about the budget situation and related information, please see http://www.uillinois.edu/our/news/budget/2010Furlough.cfm.

President Ikenberry’s note addressed the current fiscal year. We want to discuss with you briefly and candidly what we need to do at UIC moving forward into Fiscal Year 2011, which begins July 1, 2010.

As of this writing, there are no indications that the state’s financial condition will improve significantly for FY11; we face a potentially significant budget reduction for FY11 and into FY12. Without guidance from the state as to the amount of the potential shortfall, planning now, as in the past, will take place in an environment of uncertainty, and therefore we must begin to plan now in order to reduce expenses in a prudent and thoughtful way for the coming budget year. As a result of such planning in recent years, we have been forced to strategically eliminate certain programs and positions; regrettably, the future appears to hold only more of the same.

Consequently, budget planning for FY11, which commences in mid-February, will require two scenarios. The first assumes that the potential $20 million cash rescission of FY10 will be made permanent. The second scenario will call for contingency planning for a budget reduction of twice that amount, or a total of $40 million campus-wide. This would result in approximately 5% or 10% cuts, respectively, in units’ state budgets.

It goes without saying that reductions of this magnitude would be very painful. Ours is a resilient institution with a vital mission and thousands of talented and hard-working faculty and staff. However, without adequate resources, we will not pretend that we can continue to carry out business as usual. We will consult fully with the appropriate stakeholders on any steps we take, and every effort will be made to protect and, where possible, strengthen our teaching, research, and clinical care operations.

As part of this process, we plan to hold a meeting of vice chancellors and deans next Tuesday, January 12, to discuss the budget, its implications and next steps. We encourage deans to hold town hall meetings or create other venues for exchange of conversation and information in their respective colleges (we know that one has already been scheduled). We have created a task force co-chaired by the provost and John Loya, vice chancellor for human resources, to identify issues and articulate policies related to employment matters such as furloughs, the hiring freeze, etc. The task force is comprised of Larry Danziger, interim vice chancellor for research; John DeNardo, CEO of the UIC Healthcare System; Frank Goldberg, vice provost for resource planning and management; Tom Riley, director, labor and employee relations, and Mark Rosati, associate chancellor for public affairs. We will continue to meet and strategize with the university’s central administration and UIC constituents. The University Administrative Review and Restructuring Committee appointed by Interim President Ikenberry is already at work and UIC task forces on administration, information technology and academic directions will be convened and will have faculty and staff involvement.

Over the years we have been impressed so many times by the remarkable talent, energy and dedication of our faculty and staff. We know that your devotion to our students, patients and others whom we serve will carry us through this period of new and greater challenge.

Sincerely,

Paula Allen-Meares
Chancellor

R. Michael Tanner
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs