The Way Back Machine
In this installment of The Wayback Machine, from 1996, there are a few topics that may strike a familiar chord, among them the difficulties involved in planning, the need to develop faculty as teachers, and a graphic representation of the imperative balance spending on buildings with spending on “human capital.” (There is also a puckish “Mailbag” that maybe The Herald should revive.) But the most eye-catching story is an extended critique of Responsibility Centered Management. I talked with the author, Prof. Leroy Dubeck, and we both agreed that it would not be fair to compare, without a great deal of qualification, RCM as it existed at Indiana University 27 years ago with how it functions at IU now, let alone how Decentralized Budgeting will function at Temple starting next year. He also cautioned that he could not now find the source of his claim that the College of Arts and Sciences at IU reportedly lost 20% of its enrollment in the first two years to RCM as a result of poaching by other colleges and schools.
Still, he is convinced that many of his basic concerns remain relevant. For instance, if the state appropriation is raised—or, more likely, for us now, cut—how will these increases or decreases be allocated among the schools and colleges? I know that they are interested in the same thing I and so many faculty care about: what might these potential conflicts mean for our research, teaching, and service?
Whatever we think of RCM, it is here; we have to figure out how to make the best of it; and there may be some very good things to make. But the possibility of that happy outcome will depend in part on a clear-eyed appraisal of the system we’re in. I’m pleased to report that Prof. Dubeck has offered to write a column sometime next year to assess our new decentralized budgeting system once its details become clearer.•