2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

Chairs, Faculty, Management Network List Priorities for Budget 1999

Heavy dependence on tuition revenue and the condition of facilities top the list of concerns listed by the TC community in response to a survey by the budget and planning office.

Fred A. Schnur, Vice President for Finance and Administration, is trying to increase community involvement in the College budget process. He asked Diarah N'Daw-Spech, Budget Manager, to seek input from the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), department chairs and the Management Network. He also has scheduled community forums.

Schnur is trying to ensure that faculty and staff aren't surprised when the final budget for next year is completed.

"On the budget, you have to think long-term," explained N'Daw-Spech. "Even though they're going to participate in the process, they might be disappointed."

"Last year, a commitment was made for greater community involvement," Schnur continued. So this year, he has provided more time for the budget process to accommodate greater participation by the TC community and additional time for budget analyses, such as reviewing the survey summaries by the three campus organizations.

At the first in a series of open forums to review budget priorities, representatives of the three groups outlined their responses to the survey.

Benjamin Bell, chair of the Finance and Support Services Subcommittee of the FEC, summarized faculty concerns in a written report, which N'Daw-Spech read at a budget forum. Bell, who is an Assistant Professor of Computing and Education, wrote: "Our reliance on tuition generates strong enrollment pressures that strain administrative and academic staff and that could have a negative effect on the overall quality of students we admit.

"The shabby and dilapidated state of our physical plant continues to be a source of concern among faculty. Finally, the tremendous difficulty we face in offering competitive aid packages to prospective students is a cause of much frustration among faculty, and we look forward to a budget the recognizes and accommodates this critical need."

Jane Monroe, chair of the Department of Human Development, said department chairs are concerned about budget support for programs.

"We feel that we need more flexibility and discretionary monies," she said. "We also feel the need for more money for instructors. If we do maintain our enrollments, we're going to need more adjuncts."

If the College has more faculty members--either professors or adjuncts--it is going to have to find office space for them, added Monroe, Associate Professor of Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics. "We don't have enough offices for the faculty we have."

The Management Network, which is comprised of 30 program directors who report to a Cabinet member, suggested that areas which are highly utilized by students be given priority for renovation and space needs. It also recommended the creation of a Student Services Mall in the basement where student life, career services, the office for students with disabilities and other student programs would be housed.

Michelle Brown Nevers, chair of the Network and Director of Student Accounts at TC, said that as a basic principle "each staff member should be provided with the basic tools necessary to do his or her job. Often, staff are hired, but the basic tools--a desk, computer, printer and so on--are not provided."

In addition, she said that software versions should be standardized across the College. "Varying versions of a software program limits service and decreases productivity," she said.

Brown Nevers urged the College to invest in staff development, such as training programs that ensure that staff members are following current federal policies or keeping up with technological developments. (See the next page for a profile of Brown Nevers).

Schnur said the recommendations are currently being reviewed by the Cabinet and will be considered when campus needs are prioritized.

There will be more opportunities for comment from the TC community after the first draft of the budget is issued.

In addition, comments and questions about the budget process can be sent to N'Daw-Spech at dn27@columbia.edu.

previous page