17 Mar The Mother of Invention
Last week we reflected on the effect of rising tuition costs on student behavior, and what that meant from the administrator’s perspective. This week it’s closer to home. Let’s talk budget.
In January the American Association of State Colleges and Universities published a policy paper outlining the Top 10 State Education Policy Issues for 2010. Not surprisingly, three of the top 10 issues were directly related to money. The other seven could be tied to the question of funding quite easily.
The number one issue identified for 2010 is well known to anyone working in a public university setting, or any university with access to state funds: The states’ budget crises.
In the best of times, state colleges and universities, including state-run community colleges, are in competition with other state budget “line items” (state transportation, parks and forestry, aid to localities, public safety, health and human resources, National Guard, etc.)
But now, the states themselves are in a fiscal crisis – to the tune of a deficit of a quarter trillion dollars over two years. Budgets are on every administrator’s mind, and dodging the budget axe has become a full-time obsession throughout much of academia.
As “Dean Dad” vents on March 10, heroic sacrifice has become a “budgetary baseline,” and continual cutting has become routine. To make matters worse from the point of view of an administrator, the American Association of University Professors claims that faculty must be protected at all costs.
Heroism has its place, but so does innovation. Working harder can get a staff through a year with an unfilled vacancy. But you cannot continually answer the call to “do more with less” unless you’re working smarter.
Anyone who has studied a budget has seen interesting if meaningless bullet points in the budget narrative, saying things like a department will “use technology to reduce costs.” The underlying assumption, of course, is that the department does repetitive work amenable to automation, and that the department will identify that work and find an appropriate technological solution.
But if you’re in college or university administration, you’re in luck. You’re reading this blog, which means you are on the verge of actually realizing the magical budget narrative bullet point above.
College Scheduler actually does replace antiquated, time-wasting chores with simple, automated processes that students can handle themselves, through an easy-to-understand interface. After putting College Scheduler to work, your already overworked staff can get out of the business of comparing empty schedule blocks with course catalogs, and spend their time advising students instead. If you routinely do the heroic to get through registration, College Scheduler returns your job to a the realm of sanity, budget axe be damned.
Necessity, the old saying goes, is the mother of invention. College Scheduler cannot stop the budget mayhem, but it can help you do more with less.
These days, it may be a tool you cannot afford to ignore.