AES Budget Reduction Task Force Report
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Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Reduction Task Force Report

Submitted to the college administrators

Table of Contents

Summary


The current fiscal situation finds the College of Agriculture and Home Economics facing a budget shortfall with several unfilled faculty positions in the College s Agricultural Experiment Station and Academic Programs. The Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Subcommittee, through consensus, is submitting criteria for evaluating and prioritizing vacancies during a time of limited financial resources. These recommended criteria deal with the teaching, research, and outreach/service aspects of a position that should be considered when prioritizing the position. After prioritizing vacant positions using the evaluation criteria, the College administrators should investigate alternative funding sources, within the context of the College s strategic plan, to fill as many positions as possible. The College also should begin planning for anticipated vacancies in the next two years. Finally, the Subcommittee recommends that the College explore new relationships and funding possibilities.


Position Vacancy Evaluation Criteria

The current financial environment is characterized by 11 open faculty positions in the Agricultural Experiment Station and Academic Programs units of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics. The Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Subcommittee was charged with recommending a succession plan to guide the College s administrators in making the following decisions:

  • How open faculty positions should be allocated among departments to support new or existing programs.
  • Whether faculty positions or programs will be closed or opened during budget fluctuations, and if so, how.
  • How to incorporate tenure and other quality control procedures into the faculty allocation strategy.

The following list of criteria is proposed for evaluating faculty positions within the College of Agriculture and Home Economics:

General Considerations:
  • Is the vacancy the result of a denial of tenure to a faculty member? If so, this subcommittee believes that the affected department be able to keep the position automatically. Otherwise, departmental promotion and tenure committees might feel pressure to grant tenure to candidates they feel are marginal or unsuitable simply to keep the position in the department.
  • Is the vacancy for a department head position? This subcommittee feels that department head positions should be exempt from the prioritization review procedures because, by default, someone always will have to administer departmental programs and business.
  • What is the relative proportion of I&G/AES/CES funding for the vacant position? If a position is entirely research or teaching, for example, only some of the following criteria would apply.
Teaching Mission Evaluation Criteria:
  • Major(s) supported
    Student enrollment in major(s) supported by the position BS, MS, and/or PhD programs supported by the position Marketability of majors Industry support/demand for the major(s) Importance of major(s) within the framework of the College's strategic plan
  • Position support of major(s)
    Unique or required classes/training Versatility of teaching expertise Contribution of position to stability of related positions
  • Contribution to the University mission
  • Student Interactions/Service aspects of the teaching mission
  • Recruiting
  • Advising
  • Placement
Research Mission Evaluation Criteria:
  • Impact of a research area
  • Contribution to economic development and benefit to New Mexico
  • Contribution to technical needs of the state (for example, regulatory needs, competitiveness)
  • Uniqueness of the research program in the state, region, or country
  • Industry support
  • Contribution to graduate education
  • Current state of the research program
  • Cost of program support/operations
  • Importance of the research program within the framework of the College's strategic plan
  • Impact of the position to a research program
  • Leadership in the research program, and the likelihood of the research continuing without the position being filled
  • Support provided to related and interdisciplinary programs
  • Contribution of the position to the stability of related programs
  • Versatility of the position to support related programs
  • Likelihood of research grant funding
Outreach/Service Mission Evaluation Criteria:
  • Historical service contribution of position
  • Likelihood of service contribution in the future
  • Uniqueness of service likely to be contributed
  • Consequences if service component changes

Succession Process for Budget Reductions

It is the consensus opinion of the Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Subcommittee that the College administrators use the above evaluation criteria to prioritize the currently vacant faculty positions. After prioritizing vacant positions using the evaluation criteria, the College administrators should investigate alternative funding sources, within the context of the College s strategic plan, to fill as many positions as possible. The Subcommittee also recommends that the College administrators use the evaluation criteria and the College s strategic plan to plan for possible vacancies in the next two years.


New Funding

The Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Subcommittee developed a list of ways to create new funding. These ideas are grouped as (a) New Partnerships, (b) New Sources of Funding, and (c) Marketing the Agricultural Experiment Station.

New Partnerships

The Subcommittee recommends that the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences investigate partnerships with two-year colleges by securing and strengthening articulation agreements. This includes the possibility of our faculty teaching classes. This also will increase the possibility of students coming to the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences to obtain a four-year degree after obtaining a two-year degree in a related field.

The Subcommittee recommends that our College approach industry from the standpoint of impact to the families of their employees and what the College can provide industry.

The Subcommittee also recommends that the College adopt and embrace the Virtual University concept to make it work for us rather than resisting the inevitable.

New Sources of Funding

The Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Subcommittee recommends the following suggestions for locating new sources of funding for the College:

  • Search for more local, commodity group, municipal, and international grants and contract funding.
  • Increase the numbers of contracts with state agencies.
  • Amplify our status as a minority institution for grants, contracts, and funding.
  • Approach foundation boards of directors. Within the College, we need to circulate a list of current boards and determine whether any of our faculty know directors.
  • Approach alumni and private donors regarding endowing chairs and scholarships or sponsoring programs. Work together as a College to solicit funding for Chairs, Professorships, and endowments.
  • Approach every alumnus, department by department, and find out how they will help (have focus groups to find out what they will support). For example, will they support or provide externships or internships? The College can name a scholarship or internship for a donor.

Marketing the Agricultural Experiment Station

The Agricultural Experiment Station Budget Subcommittee believes that faculty should be free to talk with legislators without having to get extensive permission. There should be College-wide coordination with a common packet, though, so that everyone knows what is going on in the College and says the same things. We should show that our students are working, both by presenting statistics and by presenting personal anecdotes about how lives have been affected. We should give additional emphasis to the Extension Support Council (and what we can give to them, not merely what they can do for us).

The Subcommittee also recommends implementing the following suggestions:

  • Conduct a legislative forum at New Mexico State University to involve legislators from all over the state.
  • Develop and conduct an Education awareness program on an annual basis to bring our distinguished alumni, friends, faculty, and experts together to discuss our issues, plans and future programs.
  • Develop an Agriculture Academy similar to the Engineering model
  • Promote and feature the land grant mission in all our dealings with the public.
  • Sell quality of life as equal to production agriculture in our mission and service delivery.
  • Educate all gubernatorial candidates about the College and its importance to New Mexico.
  • Feature the unique aspects of our College (i.e., majors in subjects that are offered only at NMSU).
  • Publish and distribute a directory of services to all legislators (allows them to provide a personal touch to their constituents).
  • Organize a major restore our funding campaign to educate the people on our stand-alone dilemma.

Other Recommendations

The following suggestions were not discussed by the Subcommittee at its meeting on May 19, 1997. Consequently, there is no recognized consensus on these suggestions.

To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the College s operations, the task force recommends the following suggestions:

Improve Relations in Santa Fe:
  • Consider disengaging the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service line items from the Higher Education budget proposal.
  • Seek improved University-wide legislative lobbying competency.
  • Request that the NMSU President allow the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics to testify on behalf of Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service budgets in budget hearings, alongside the President of NMSU. The Dean will have a better understanding of the complexities of the College s budget than will any President.
  • Ask the President to consider long-term impacts of mandating unfunded salary increases.
Organizational Efficiencies:
  • Examine functions for duplications and consider consolidation of positions where possible, including administrative positions within and across agency lines. Consider sharing administration of between science centers, realigning faculty duties and sharing faculty across state lines, county lines, and among facilities.
  • Consider having Extension specialists and administrators teaching classes, having joint CES/teaching appointments, and/or having joint AES/CES appointments with joint P&T evaluations.
Other:
  • Review the Gerald Thomas chair for best use.
  • Discontinue the All-College conference.
  • If a department chooses not to fill a position, return salary money from unfilled positions to departmental operations budgets.
  • Approach the President of New Mexico State University about putting department heads in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences on 100% I&G funds comparable to department heads in other colleges.