President's Campus Communication 2/9/10

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for helping UNC kick off the spring semester with reason for continued optimism. Almost 1,000 people attended the celebratory launch of our Bringing Education to Life branding campaign. We just announced a five-year, $1.25-million grant from the Daniels Fund to support business ethics programs. To better integrate University and Foundation efforts, we’re moving fundraising and alumni operations to the University. And we continue to rise in the basketball rankings.

We will work to maintain this positive momentum as we develop a budget for FY10-11. As we expected, and as you probably have seen in recent press reports, Colorado will reach the funding “cliff” earlier than state leaders initially anticipated. The decision we made last semester to begin building a $14-million cliff reserve positions us well to deal with this change. You may recall that we set the FY10-11 cliff reserve target at $4.6 million, which included $3.6 million in new revenue and $1 million in reduced expenditures (primarily salary savings).

Given the increasing uncertainty at the state level, it is prudent to accelerate our efforts to reduce expenditures in FY10-11. With your help, the vice presidents and I have already identified more than $1 million in potential savings, and we will continue working to identify a total of $3 million. This means we will set aside a total of approximately $6.6 million for the cliff reserve in FY10-11. To ensure that we take a University perspective as we make these decisions, we will use the budget process to discuss proposed savings. We’re not going to shift costs from one area of the University to another or make shortsighted decisions that will hold us back in the long term. We will make decisions that are consistent with what we say we’re committed to and consistent from one division to another, which includes recognizing that people are our greatest asset at UNC.

I will be meeting soon with the governance group leaders, deans, vice presidents, and assistant vice presidents to discuss how we can draft a FY10-11 budget that builds on our FY09-10 work and continues to develop flexibility to address future uncertainties. I should have an update for you about the budget process by the end of the month.