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Resource Planning

Thanks to: Larry Goldstein, President, Campus Strategies, LLC, Resource and Budget Planning Academy Member

Ellen Milstone, Senior Strategic Planning and Budget Officer, ASU Enterprise Partners, Former SCUP Board Chair

Richard Straka, Vice President, Finance and Administration, Minnesota State University - Mankato, Resource and Budget Planning Academy Member

The calls (for accountability) are coming from inside the house. And outside, too. From legislators to students, parents to faculty, more and more people are putting higher education’s ledgers under the microscope. They demand proof that resources are used wisely. They want to know how these decisions get made.

What is needed is more than another round of budget cycles. It’s aligning resources—funds, time, space, technology, and more—to the university or college strategic plan. It’s allocating resources to advance the institution as it shapes and defines its future. What is needed is resource planning.

What is resource planning?

Resource planning is the process for determining and allocating resources in a higher education institution.

Resources include:

  • Funds
  • People
  • Space/facilities
  • Technology
  • Equipment

Resource planning involves both short- and long-term plans. It includes annual budget processes, human resources, and capital planning functions. These processes culminate in the creation of allocations for the budgets of all units of an institution.

Why do it?

Resource planning aligns available and future financial, human, and physical resources with the needs and goals of an institution.

Successfully completing this process allows an institution to continue necessary current efforts and successfully implement new initiatives. Further, if done in a transparent way, stakeholders will understand why and how decisions are made.

How to do it?

Every institution will develop its own process to best fit its needs. Needs may be informed by specific business cycles and by state appropriations processes for public colleges and universities.

Generally, institutions should prioritize initiatives in line with strategic priorities and create a balance of expenditures with ongoing commitments with which it feels comfortable. Often the finance office will take the lead in crafting proposals after receiving requests from departments and units, though the process may be more or less centralized at different institutions.

Who does it?

While senior leaders of an organization are ultimately responsible, involvement from throughout an organization is important to achieving success.

Much of the detailed budget planning is completed by the finance office in conjunction with nearly every program and department across the organization.

Often, the provost’s office or another senior administrator takes the lead in developing new plans related to budget and resource allocation, including the prioritization of programs and initiatives.

When to do it?

Resource planning is an ongoing process. There is variation across institutions, but monthly, quarterly, and annual checks of the status of funds can be good times to adjust projections and most accurately plan for institutional needs.

Resource planning is also triggered by events, such as:

  • Launch of a college or university strategic plan
  • Sudden funding increase or decrease

Why integrated?

A plan cannot be implemented without resources. When resource planning is aligned with institutional plans, like the strategic plan or academic plan, future-critical initiatives have what they need to succeed. Further, integrated planning ensures that resource planning is transparent and cross-boundary so institutional stakeholders understand why and how decisions are made.

SCUP 2019 Annual Conference

July 14-16, 2019

Washington State Convention Center
Seattle, WA

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SESSIONS

PRESIDENT’S SESSION | Building an Inclusive Campus: A Cross-Border Perspective

Presented by Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of British Columbia

Assessing Institutional Capacity for Mission-Fulfillment and Student Success

Presented by Greg Brazell, Director of the Center for Engagement and Learning, Pierce College at Puyallup | Thomas Broxson, District Dean, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Pierce College at Puyallup | Laurie Tripp Heacock, Vice President of Data, Technology and Analytics, Achieving The Dream, Inc.

Moving Forward When Others Are Moving Backward

Presented by Richard Castallo, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, California State University-Northridge

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