August 1, 2019
I am pleased to share that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees gave its preliminary endorsement to our 2020 fiscal year budget at its meeting on July 30.
This approval includes support for a merit-increase pool for the upcoming year. As in previous years, a merit increase recognizes achievements made over the past year as determined by your supervisor or, as is the case with faculty, your department chair and dean.
Merit system review and training for managers will begin Aug. 14, and I encourage you to keep an eye open for information on training dates and locations, to be shared soon. Beginning in early September, deans, vice presidents, and vice provosts will evaluate and finalize all recommended merit increases, which will be reflected in October paychecks.
Along with other members of the University’s leadership team, I remain committed to fostering a culture that recognizes and celebrates faculty and staff for outstanding work in advancing our mission, and I thank you for your dedication to our students, in particular.
Moving forward, we will continue to refine and align the University’s strategic goals with the budget through the strategic-objective task force groups, the formation of which I announced in messages earlier this summer. As a reminder, these task forces of faculty, staff, and administrators are focusing attention on five key areas: undergraduate enrollment, lifelong-learning enrollment, collaborative health care education, community engagement and impact, and stewardship and operational excellence.
I am encouraged by the thoughtful work of our colleagues, and eager for your feedback this fall during and subsequent to my Town Hall meeting with you on Sept. 10.
While I am very pleased with the 2020 fiscal year budget process this season, I am ever aware that the University must continue to remain good stewards of our resources, embrace efficiencies in our daily work, and – in the face of a radical demographic shift of student populations, acute sensitivities to the costs of higher education, and evolving career and lifestyle interests and opportunities – discern how to both keep enlivening our mission of transforming minds and hearts and remaining on the forefront of excellence and innovation.
The operating margin for fiscal year 2020 did not grow over last year’s budget, and yet I remain very optimistic about our ongoing efforts to reach the goal of a 5% operating margin. By holding open positions, trimming expenses, deferring requested investments, and more, we are able to realize improvements of nearly $15 million. While this does not equate to cash in the pocket for the University, it does provide the funding to maintain and enhance our campus in the upcoming year.
I want to thank members of the Creighton community whose time and expertise helped shape the budget and move it forward. I am confident that the collaborative nature of our work will result in new opportunities to significantly advance the University.