Field of Science

How to run a university - This is your budget (Right!).

One of the good things, a tiny silver lining to a dark cloud, of having no salary or pension that depends upon the state, or not having any budget for running your herbarium, or not having any staff to support, is that your budget can't really be cut. Sigh. And of course since Lincolnland has a GnOPe governor, the state budget must be cut, especially higher education, that most dangerous of public institutions. More on this later. Let's suppose you are a department chairman, and here any similarities to real people are completely accidental, and your dean tells you you have a budget of say 4.5 million dollars. OK, that sounds like a lot, but mostly that consists of the cumulative salaries of your faculty and staff. However, that total is used to calculate how much you must cut your budget based on some magic percentage figure. Well, suppose professor Z is retiring in December, so you decide to cut the budget by an amount that equals half of his current salary. No, you can't do that because as soon as he retires that salary is no longer part of your budget. Well, can that half salary be deducted from the budget now so that the percentage cut is based on a smaller total? Well, no, you can't. Now this folks is a budget catch-22 where the total only counts against you and never counts for you. Actually, only about $140,000 exists that isn't salary, so your cuts must come out of that amount, and departments with more highly paid faculty will suffer larger cuts from other funds than others. Now TPP has pointed out before that departments never get the tuition dollars that their courses generate either, or the decision about which administrative services to retain might solve the budget cut problem easily.

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