Message from the Vice Chancellor

Organizational Update
December 2013

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the establishment of the Division of Planning and Budget at the Merced campus.  Over the past year, we have focused on developing the foundation for our division to provide enhanced analytics to support institutional decision-making, greater coordination between planning and budgeting functions, and transparent and strategic resource-allocation processes.

Together, we have accomplished much in this first year.  We have focused on making strategic changes to the process for the development and implementation of our budget; enhanced the Campus Physical Planning Committee process, utilizing that body for thought leadership and strategic direction for our 2020 Project; and provided analytical support for the establishment of the Long-Range Enrollment Plan.  Thank you all for your unending and consistent commitment to our university. 

Looking ahead, we have much more to accomplish.  Throughout our first year together, I have thought about the principles of our organizational structure and how best to arrange our organization to provide for the intermediate term needs of our campus:

•       Like our university, we should be guided by a team-oriented approach.  This applies within our division, with our counterparts across campus, and with external stakeholders.  At the same time, we need clear lines of authority, and management responsibility;

•       We should organize ourselves to ensure our division has the capacity to meet our responsibility to support institutional decision-making, to coordinate planning and budgeting functions, and manage transparent and strategic resource-allocation processes;

•       Our organization structure should be focused on our highest priority areas of support for the university:  real estate, finance, and institutional research;

•       As a division, our three groups have important roles to play in the planning of institutional development and sound financial management practices;

•       Planning and delivering the 2020 Project and ancillary real estate projects will set the foundation for future growth of our institution and remain a key priority for the division;

•       In the past year, we have also focused on improving our budget and financial planning processes.  In a dynamic and growing organization like UC Merced, financial planning processes must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the institution, and this will therefore be a long-term endeavor;

•       In the near-term, our university requires a coordinated process for the establishment of capital budgets that is integrated with the budget of our institution;

•       The process of budgeting employee headcount and FTE needs to be integrated with the space management functions of the organization;

•       Our team of analysts should remain focused on providing research and analytical services across campus.  This includes focus on providing analytical support for the Chancellor and Provost's high priorities, creating and publishing research and facilitating dialogue on these topics across campus;

With these principles in mind, I am pleased to announce the following changes to our organizational structure:

•       Finance.  One of Chancellor Leland’s two year goals established in December 2012 was to create integrated budgeting and planning processes aligned with the university’s strategic priorities.  The establishment of the Division of Planning and Budget was a first step towards creating and implementing a resource allocation model that reflects and supports institutional academic, strategic and capital-planning priorities.  A second step in this process is to establish the Finance Group.  The department will be responsible for managing the process for the development and recommendation of the campus operating budget to the Chancellor.  In addition, this department will be responsible for a process for the development and recommendation of a campus capital budget.  In coming months, the Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services and I will work together to make recommendations about the establishment of this process, leveraging subject matter experts from both divisions and across campus, as necessary.  In January 2014, we will launch a nationwide search for a new Assistant Vice Chancellor, Finance.  The Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services will serve as the chair of the search committee. 

The Finance Group will include Operating Budget and Capital Finance.  Emma Loethen will serve as the Interim Director, Operating Budget.  John White will lead Capital Finance.  During the period that Assistant Vice Chancellor, Finance position remains vacant, both departments will report to me.

In addition to his role in Capital Finance, I will also ask John White to serve as an advisor to me for the development of key performance indicators and to foster opportunities to enhance integrated planning efforts on campus.  As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Society of College and University Planners ("SCUP") and Chair of the Conference Program for SCUP's 49th Annual International Conference in 2014, John can help our campus leverage best practices in the area of integrated planning.

•       Real Estate Services.  The Real Estate Services Group will be responsible for all campus real estate development and transaction support services.  In addition to planning for the development of real property on campus, the Real Estate Services Group will administer the acquisition and disposition of real property, manage the development of new campus buildings that may be procured through public/private partnerships, and provide asset management services for all leased space. 

We are immediately launching a search for a new Assistant Vice Chancellor, Real Estate Services / Chief Real Estate Development Officer who will report to me.  Interim Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services, Michael Reese, will lead this search.

While we conduct this search, I am pleased that our commercial real estate consultant Bill Hvidt will continue to lead our effort to develop the 2020 Project and evaluate a number of additional ancillary real estate projects.

Steve Rabedeaux will continue to lead Academic Facilities Planning and Phil Woods will continue to lead Physical and Environmental Planning, reporting to the Chief Real Estate Development Officer.  In addition, our Space Management staff, including Irwin Band and Ramona Dai’Re will report to the Chief Real Estate Development Officer. 

•       Institutional Research and Decision Support.  Similar to the Finance and Real Estate groups, Institutional Planning and Analysis has and will continue to serve a critical role in our campuses planning apparatus.  To better reflect its focus on providing research and decision support services for senior management and clients across campus, IPA with change its name to Institutional Research and Decision Support.  Nancy Ochsner will continue to lead the group, serving as Assistant Vice Chancellor, reporting to me. 

As we continue to work together, we will help develop our new University of California.  Fostering innovation, entrepreneurialism and knowledge in the heart of underinvested California, we will build the foundation to continue investment in our university's mission of teaching, research and service. 

Please join me in congratulating these individuals on their new and expanded roles within our organization.