To gain a better understanding of Temple's readiness to transition to a decentralized budget model, interviews were conducted with deans, faculty and staff who participate directly in budget activities or have an interest in its management. This "listening tour" included individual and group interviews with faculty and staff. Common themes emerged.
Based on these themes and the thoughtful consideration of the steering committee a set of guiding principles [PDF] has been developed to help us frame the process. These principles will guide the process throughout its life in all circumstances irrespective of changes in its goals, strategies or leaders. They are:
Mission-driven: In order to support the university’s mission of providing an excellent education at an affordable cost, Temple’s budget practices must contain appropriate incentives to support academic quality and efficiency. Certain priorities, initiatives or activities that are central to the overall university mission may require the financial support of the revenue centers. The budget model recognizes that Temple’s primary mission is to support its teaching and research enterprise first, and its goals and success supersede those of the individual units and revenue centers.
Align Authority with Responsibility and Accountability: The closer the point of an operating decision is to the point of implementation, the better the decision is likely to be. Realign the authority for making decisions with their financial outcomes. Authority to make decisions should be pushed down to the revenue centers along with the responsibility or accountability for such decisions.
Fairness: The budget model should be consistent, predictable and transparent. Considers a student-focused approach to the delivery and funding of services to ensure equitable access to services and facilities while allowing for schools/colleges to offer additional services to their students.
Encourage Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Efficiency: Create and introduce financial incentives to encourage and recognize appropriate risk taking and efforts to enhance revenue or reduce expenses. Support and reward units for interdisciplinary collaborations and discourage unnecessary internal competition.
Simplicity: The budget model, including the allocation of revenues and indirect expenses, should be simple to understand, explain and maintain.