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Where planning comes together. T​he power of SCUP is its community. We learn from one another, sharing how we’ve achieved success and, maybe more importantly, what we’ve learned from failure. SCUP authors, produces, and curates thousands of resources to help you prepare for the future, overcome challenges, and bring planning together at your college or university.

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Published
December 2, 2020

Book Review: How University Budgets Work

This book serves as a primer for establishing a baseline by which academic leaders can participate in conversations regarding finances at their institutions.

From Volume 49 Number 1 | October–December 2020

Abstract: by Dean O. Smith
Johns Hopkins University Press
Baltimore, MD
2019
200 Pages
ISBN 9781421432762

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Published
August 20, 2020

Creating a More Adaptive Institution in the Wake of COVID-19

Recorded August 20. This interactive panel discussion will bring together different institutions’ perspectives from facilities, technology, student services, and finance to understand the impact of COVID-19 on institutions and their student experience. The discussion will be organized in three parts, each with a prompt to inform the discussion, a poll to take the pulse of the audience, and an open discussion among panelists.
Abstract: How can colleges and universities become more adaptive in the wake of COVID-19? This interactive panel discussion will bring together different institutions’ perspectives from facilities, technology, student services, and finance to understand the impact of COVID-19 on institutions and their student experience.

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Published
August 6, 2020

Collection: Linking Resource Allocation to Planning and Assessment

Integrated planning is important, but it's not enough—plans must be linked to budgeting and assessment in order to create real change and progress. This collection of SCUP resources will help you learn how to link these three essential processes.
Abstract: If you want to ensure planning makes a real difference for your college or university, one of the best things to do is link it to resource allocation and assessment processes. It's also one of the hardest things to do.

This collection of SCUP resources will help advance the connections between planning, budgeting, and assessment at your institution. It includes:
  • An adaptable framework one university used to link assessment, strategic planning, and budgeting
  • Four models for linking budgeting and planning, each based on the budget model your institution employs
  • A step-by-step outline for developing a linked planning and budgeting process
  • Advice for linking planning to a decentralized budgeting model

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Delivered
July 24, 2020

2020 Annual Conference | July 2020

Addressing the Financial Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Join us to discuss short-term, medium-term, and long-term approaches to retrenchment and find out which solutions can most benefit your institution in this time of financial uncertainty.
Abstract: Effectively managing the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to institutional survival. This session will focus on retrenchment and even delve into the taboo issue of financial exigency; there are numerous factors to consider when carving up a budget and, if not done carefully, retrenchment can permanently damage an institution. Join us to discuss short-term, medium-term, and long-term approaches to retrenchment and find out which solutions can most benefit your institution in this time of financial uncertainty.

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Published
July 17, 2020

Academic Deans Reveal Their Leadership Styles

Annual Budgeting Becomes an Exercise in How Authority is Enacted

Academic deans adopt one of three approaches when developing the annual budget report for their colleges: distributed authorship, delegated authorship, or dominated authorship. Depending on the approach they select, deans can include and collaborate with their senior teams—or exclude, ignore, and alienate them. Their choice demonstrates how they lead.

From Volume 48 Number 4 | July–September 2020

Abstract: Few studies have investigated how academic deans enact their authority in Responsibility Center Budgeting (RCB), despite its widespread adoption. In this article I explore findings from a study that investigated how deans crafted a confidential annual budget report at an American university. Ultimately, deans adopted one of three approaches to crafting the report: delegating, distributing, or dominating authorship. Deans who distributed authorship collaborated with their senior teams to establish a shared sense of priorities for their colleges. In contrast deans who delegated and dominated authorship ignored and alienated members of their senior team during the budget review, engendering confusion and frustration.

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Fiscal Structure and Public College and University Credit Ratings

An Exploratory Analysis

By understanding how fiscal structure affects institutional credit ratings, leaders can better respond to today’s variable economic conditions.

From Volume 45 Number 3 | April–June 2017

Abstract: Using ordered response models often employed in public finance, we explore the possible determinants of public college and university credit ratings based on the fiscal structure of a number of institutions that are members of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). We argue that by understanding the role of fiscal structure in the determination of institutional credit ratings, leaders can respond appropriately to variable economic conditions. They can also begin to manage and plan the ways in which their operations and fiscal structure impact their debt costs through credit ratings.

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Planning at Mesa Community College

Integrated and Informed for Our Improvement

Within the span of a year, it’s possible to make significant progress toward achieving and institutionalizing integrated planning and budgeting.

From Volume 45 Number 3 | April–June 2017

Abstract: In an era of heightened accreditation expectations, declining resources, and increasing competition, tools such as integrated planning and budgeting, evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) processes, an overarching continuous quality improvement (CQI) framework, and up-to-date technology solutions for managing planning processes are no longer optional. While Mesa Community College (MCC) has a long history of planning, the integration of planning and budgeting was limited and our planning system was outdated (as in beyond end-of-life outdated). Additionally, planning and budgeting processes lacked EBDM practices and an overarching CQI framework. MCC’s Strategic Planning Committee set about remedying all of these issues and did so within the span of a year.

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So, You Need a New Chart of Accounts

Designing a new chart of accounts provides an opportunity to review and improve current practice and positively affect institutional financial data use and reporting.

From Volume 45 Number 3 | April–June 2017

Abstract: This article provides an overview of the process for the design of a new institutional chart of accounts. It includes some background as to the nature and purpose of a chart of accounts and also speaks to the details of the design process. Implications for data security and usability through design are highlighted, and practical tips on the process to ensure inclusion are featured.

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Redesigning a Budget Model with a Grassroots Approach

While redesigning a campus budget model could happen relatively quickly from a technical standpoint, time spent in extensive engagement, collaboration, and conversation is key to successful implementation.

From Volume 45 Number 3 | April–June 2017

Abstract: A budget model shapes the way a campus operates in a fundamental way. Redesigning a campus budget model could actually happen relatively quickly from a technical standpoint. However, extensive engagement, collaboration, and conversation are key to a successful implementation. In this article, the authors chart the budget model redesign process at UC Riverside, which followed a uniquely grassroots approach. Changing the budget model at UC Riverside was about changing mind-sets, incentives, and behaviors—not just about the numbers. UC Riverside’s phased approach to its redesign process may be instructive to other higher education institutions considering undertaking such a major change initiative.

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Employing College and University Credit Ratings as Indicators of Institutional Planning Effectiveness

Credit ratings can be an integral component of the planning process, particularly as an implicit indicator of institutional planning effectiveness.

From Volume 41 Number 4 | July–September 2013

Abstract: College and university credit ratings directly affect institutional budgeting and planning. Hence, they should be of special concern to those charged with institutional planning. This article underscores the critical role that the ratings issued by two major rating agencies play in institutional finances and planning. Because rating agencies take into account a broad range of criteria, credit ratings remain a robust indicator of creditworthiness and can serve as signaling devices regarding institutional market positioning. Therefore, decision makers should be aware of the importance of ratings as they seek to compete for students and resources in the short run and plan for the long term.

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