As Professor Adkin notes in a comment earlier today, we have yet to receive a reply to the letter of 23 January 2012 addressed to the VP Finance & Administration, Phyllis Clark: http://wp.me/p22btO-aA. Tomorrow it will be two weeks since the letter was sent. Perhaps the twenty-six members of the Faculty of Arts who signed that letter would now like to decide what to do by way of follow-up?
While we’ve been awaiting answers to our financial questions, we have had further occasion to consider the financial information available to us all on the University’s websites.
Various components of the “Data Book” for the last several years are, oddly, yet to be “populated” with the relevant numbers. One can nevertheless find a great deal of financial information on the “Operating & Capital Budget Summaries” from 2004-2005 to 2010-2011, which are available at the Resource Planning website: http://www.resourceplanning.ualberta.ca/en/Planning%20Tools/BudgetSummaries.aspx.
The following chart has been compiled from the financial information available on page 5 of the “Operating & Capital Budgets Summaries,” or on the spreadsheet that spells out the operating budget for the various Faculties for each year. When the numbers for the Faculty of Arts from the various years are pulled together into a single snapshot, a general trend may be observed:
The University’s “Faculties” spreadsheet does not provide (as those of some other institutions do) a brief comment that explains a reduction or increase to a given Faculty’s allotment for the year. But the upshot seems clear enough: since 2003-2004, small but continual reductions to the operating budget for the Faculty of Arts translate into an overall reduction, across the eight-year period, of 1.85%.
1.85% may seem like a small number. But observe what this reduction translates into in terms of dollars:
Given that these figures are translating into hard facts on the ground — support staff are to be laid off, and faculty positions are to be closed this year and next — surely those of us doing the core work of the Faculty deserve to hear an answer to the pressing question to which they give rise: Why has the Faculty of Arts operating budget received reduction after reduction after reduction since 2003-2004? Or, to put the question another way, why do we no longer receive the percentage allocation that we received in 2003-2004?
There may be explanations for this that faculty members would approve. But what are they?
We rush to add that we understand that the situation in Science appears to be just as bad overall, despite the fact that in 2009-2010 Science received an increase to its budget that alleviated its situation sufficiently to prevent the kind of cut that occurred to the departmental budgets in Arts in 2009-2010:
The exception of 2009-2010 aside, the fact remains that Science has also received continual reductions to its percentage allocation. Perhaps our colleagues in Science would like to join with us in asking for an explanation of the criteria upon which the University is determining its funding priorities?