Given today’s budgetary and legislative realities, funding the recommendations could be a challenge.
Several months ago, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted to request $90.4 million in new state appropriations during the upcoming legislative session. The total higher education budget request for fiscal year 2014 is 9.47 percent higher than the current year’s appropriation.
Additionally, the State Regents are requesting $55 million for Complete College America performance funding needs. These funds would provide funding for additional course sections, full-time faculty and financial aid. They would also fund increased needs for information technology equipment, library resources and other operational needs to support near-record student enrollment.
Oklahoma colleges and universities are cutting operational costs, according to the State Regents. A total of $411 million in actual and projected cost savings has been identified from 2010-14 in technology and energy consumption, as well as in personnel costs and supplies.
As part of UCO’s goal to redefine itself as Oklahoma’s metropolitan university, the strategic plan seeks to build alternative funding structures and developing a university marketing/branding campaign to position a metropolitan university serving the region’s educational and service needs.
Betz said the next steps in the strategic planning process include four work groups of administrators, faculty and staff. They will establish specific measurable objectives and recommend budget allocations to support them. They will also identify who is responsible for realizing these outcomes.
During the coming year, work group duties will include defining what it means for UCO to be a “metropolitan university” and communicating that definition, according to a plan summary. By July 1 an Office for Institutional Effectiveness will be created. It will report to the president and cabinet.
The work groups will also ensure all resource allocations and all UCO operational plans are aligned with the strategic plan. UCO’s executive cabinet is responsible for implementing the plan.
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