University Senate - October 26, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Members not in attendance: Durell Callier, Conner Moreton, Breanna Robinson, and Brandon Small.

  1. Announcements and Remarks by the Chair of Senate Executive Committee, James Bielo.

    1. Senate working sessions are continuing to be held on Senate off weeks. The most recent was co-moderated by Senator Michele Navakas and Marianne Cotugno regarding best practices for conducting senate virtually. Executive Committee will be reviewing the notes from the session and integrating them into practices. The upcoming session on November 2, 2020 is focused on revisiting the University statement on best teaching practices and will be co-moderated by Senators Chip Hahn and Ruku Pal.

    2. A follow-up was given regarding recording Senate attendance. There does not seem to be a function within WebEx meetings to record attendance, so this will be done manually until another solution can be found.

    3. In Spring 2020,  Associate Provost Carolyn Haynes brought forth a proposed revision to the University Senate ByLaws 8.A (SR 14.01), Guide for the Consolidating, Partitioning, Transferring or Eliminating Academic Departments, Programs, and Divisions, which would change – These changes are to ensure a shared and inclusive process is followed when making changes to programs, to ensure that departmental governance procedures are followed and to eliminate confusion by clarifying key terminology throughout the process. These changes have been approved by COAD and will be coming to Senate for review and approval. We will be following our process of education, discussion, deliberation and vote. The materials will be distributed after today’s meeting, and Associate Provost Haynes will be leading the discussion at the November 9, 2020, meeting where there will hopefully be a vote on the policy revisions.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the October 12, 2020, minutes of University Senate with one correction.

Consent Calendar

  1. The following items were received on the consent calendar:

    1. Curriculum

    2. Liberal Education Council – GMP Redesign Meeting Minutes – October 2, 2020

    3. Graduate Council Minutes – September 8, 2020

    4. Student Life Council Minutes April 22, 2020 

Special Reports

  1. Budget 101 – Dr. David Creamer – Senior V.P. for Finance and Business Services

    1. A brief background was given as to what is prompting the budget session. During the discussion of the furlough, there were a number of budget issues and questions that Dr. Bretz and the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee responded to. There was a question/request on doing some background how the budget is constructed.

    2. The basics of the University budget are complex. There is a 700M operating budget comprised of different elements. If you really want to track the budget, you have to track the revenue. Sustainable budgeting is something that comes into question a lot – how much revenue that the University generates should be spent today versus being accumulated and set aside for a rainy day fund or invested. While a lot is controlled centrally, some is controlled by individual departments. Resource priorities is another area where there are questions. The RCM model turned things upside down and put responsibility to the academic units. Prior to RCM, the responsibility was in Finance and Business Services. Finance and Business Services does work to determine whether a salary increment will be possible and will identify funds that will be available next budget.

    3. The FY 2021 Miami University Budget totals $674,039,501. The largest component is the Unrestricted General fund (general operating budget). The regional operating budget is kept separate. There are 3 other categories – restricted funds (endowment and gift funds), designated area (revenue generated and controlled at the college or department level), and auxiliary area, which is the business areas of the university. Auxiliaries generate their own income and are partially supported by the general fee. Each budget area is looked at as a separate area. If there is a shortfall in that budget, they are expected to make it up.

    4. In the Oxford General Fund Budget (unrestricted), there are primarily three sources of revenue, the largest being the net instructional revenue by undergraduate programs, which is 75%. State appropriations account for 19.2% ($64.6M); however, they are $5M less than 20 years ago. State appropriation is enrollment driven. There is also net instructional revenue generated at the graduate level; however, it is more modest. The numbers show that Miami is very dependent on enrollment.

    5. There are some trends and snapshots showing state appropriation versus net instructional revenue and how the ratio has shifted over time. The largest revenue year for the University was in 2017. There is less general fund revenue being generated this year than any prior year.

    6. The largest revenue year was in 2017. We were still able to continue salary increments during this time. This year, even with the budget reductions, a salary increment could not be authorized. Revenue coming in from first time students was shown. The revenue from each class has been dropping. The amount that is estimated for this year is $14.5 M less than in FY 2017. This is the smallest amount since 2009.

    7. The amount of scholarship needed to fund this incoming class has continued to grow. We are spending approximately $114M in student aid for FY 21. A graph of state support back to 2001 shows a continued gap.

    8. Where do our funds get spent? In the Oxford General Fund, 82% goes toward salaries, benefits and healthcare costs. Other areas that are significant are facilities costs and departmental expenditures. We do have funds that accumulate over time and invested and then directed back in to the budget. RCM has directed where funds get accumulated – the majority of the funds are accumulated in the academic portion. Largest area -University Advancement (university campaign); provost area (Boldly Creative.) There are central reserved funds in periods of time when we get investment losses (e.g. 2008-2009), it doesn’t affect the general fund. We fully self-fund healthcare. If something causes a spike in the costs, we need to make sure we have accumulated enough to cover it. The spending in healthcare was down this year due to the pandemic.

    9. Designated funds are comprised of course fees or other kinds of fees dedicated to specific use, which include the technology fee and the program fees for the Farmer School of Business and the College of Engineering and Computing. Each of these is maintained and administered by the department.

    10. Restricted funds are primarily from endowments, gifts and external grants (larger this year because of CARES Act funds.) Scholarships/fellowships are the largest area of expenditure of these funds.

    11. Auxiliary funds are the second largest area of the budget. Auxiliaries are self-supporting and use their own revenue or the general fee to support their operations. Residence and Dining is the largest area. There typically have not been issues within the auxiliary areas pre-pandemic because the enrollment was stable. The need to do refunds this spring and the dedensification of the residence halls this fall has negatively affected these areas. We have been able to cover this by delaying capital projects. Room and board fees make up a majority of the revenue. Salaries and benefits are not the largest costs in the auxiliary areas. The largest costs are debt service (annual principle and interest payments) and support costs (e.g. food costs.)

    12. Capital budgeting is one of the areas where there is the most confusion. The value to replace current facilities is $3.3 B. In looking at the aging of buildings, it would suggest that we would spend approximately 81.5M year on existing buildings for maintenance. There is a biannual State of Ohio appropriation of 20M for buildings/capital appropriation.

    13. Investments make up a modest portion of the operating budget, but can affect things in a volatile way if the markets don’t perform and have a big impact on the budget. Investment fluctuation fund has a $27M shortfall as of June 30, 2020. If there is a shortfall, draw on the investment fluctuation account.

    14. There are always debates about the best way to manage resources and how much should be accumulated and carried over to help with large revenue losses. Unlike a business, we cannot have a line of credit for operating purposes or facilities. Funds do get set aside for capital projects and one-time investments, such as Boldly Creative. Some sister institutions are going to have accreditation issues because of budget problems they are facing.

    15. Senators had the following questions and discussion:

      1. Senator Moser thanked Dr. Creamer for the summary and asked multiple questions. Do we have a measure of our expected operating income or loss for 2020-21? Dr. Creamer reported that the estimate for $1.9M surplus, since then we’ve had more students go remote, so we are continuing to monitor the budget. At the end of September, the Auxiliaries had a $32M budget deficit.  Senator Moser asked if Miami will break even for the operating budget for 2020-21. It depends on the number of students coming back in the spring. How did Miami do for 2019-20? The auxiliaries lost money and the general operating fund had a modest surplus of $5-6M. Overall net assets went down because of liabilities with the State. In general, it was a neutral year, but that was after budget reductions had been taken. What percentage of money from the general fund is fixed (debt service) and what percentage is variable? There are very few fixed costs inside the Oxford general operating budget. There are approximately $10M of true fixed costs. Sum total of cumulative balance in the general account? Is there a bank account at Miami? There is no account – the monies are spread across many areas. How much money does Miami have to fund accounts? The net assets are approximately $330M (liquid assets.)

      2. In what way is the Senate involved in making decisions regarding faculty salary increments? There is involvement through The Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee. The initial recommendation is developed through the Budget Office and presented to the President and Provost for consultation. It is then presented to Fiscal Priorities for their advice.

      3. What is the outlook for salary increments moving forward? The initial assumption is that there will be a budget gap for FY 22 and likely no increment. The Provost interjected – can you elaborate about the $1.9 M surplus? Where is the urgency to try to streamline expenditures? As we built the FY 21 budget, we reduced the Oxford expenditures by $38 M. We would have had a $35 M budget shortfall had we not taken the reductions. There is still uncertainty about what the revenues will be for the balance of this year. We do know there is more risk about the winter term and the spring semester that may change the estimate.

      4. Senator Kenworthy asked about the slides showing the State support and the instructional fee back to 1981. The budget has grown from $190 M to $325 M. How have the costs grown so dramatically? Rising salary and health care costs are contributing to the increased spending.

      5. Provost Osborne commented that we are ranked one of the most efficient universities in the nation, which means we spend less on administrative overhead than other universities. Administrative costs were at 29% and instructional costs were at 39%. What is in that 29% - are we really that bloated? It includes everything in central administration: Advancement, Provost Office, Enrollment Management, and I.T. costs.

      6. Senator Newman asked about the slide showing revenue from student cohorts and the rising costs of each new class. The implication was that we are depending more on financial aid to attract qualified students more than we have in the past. How much financial aid? Do we ever look at the dollars we are spending on attracting these students and how effective are we doing that? Is the financial aid affecting the salary increments? Instead of having great students and no raises, can we have ‘nearly’ great students and some raises? Dr. Creamer replied that these are issues that the President, Provost and EMSS and the Board have to work through to make decisions to ensure a high quality and diverse class. A plan is given to Enrollment Management and there are goals that they have. We have seen substantial growth in using tuition dollars to cover increasing scholarship costs. Senator Newman commented that this is the least transparent part of the presentation. Dr. Creamer responded that part of this is the effect of the current demographics. The competition between institutions has increased, which has led to rising scholarship costs.

      7. Senator Wu commented about financial aid from a student perspective. Many students would not have the opportunities that they do if it weren’t for financial aid. A large portion of the University’s cost is funded by student fees. Are there are any programs in place to mitigate student debt? The primary area is the campaign and gifts from alumni. How do we balance what we want to do with affordability with the quality of the educational experience? Part of the issue is that State support has decreased, so the partners in this become the student and the institution.

  2. Graduate Council Update – Michael Crowder – Dean, Graduate School 

    1. Dean Crowder became Dean of Graduate School as of July 1, 2020. There are several changes within the Graduate School to report, some of which have been ongoing for years. There has been a reorganization of the Graduate School to be more in line with other graduate schools. The admissions area (three staff members) has moved over to Enrollment Management on October 1, 2020; however, you still will contact the same people with graduate admissions questions. There are some operational savings for doing this. The second change is moving the CRM from CollegeNet to Slate to streamline the admissions process. Finally, the Graduate School will be separating from the research office on November 1, 2020 with the hiring of Dr. Alicia Knoedler, Vice President for Research and Innovation.

    2. Graduate education offers 70 Master’s programs, 15 Doctoral programs, 22 Certificates, and 13 market driven tuition programs. Last year Miami was to receive $17 M in state subsidy to support graduate programs ($4 M for doctoral.) Due to Covid-cuts, we brought in $14 M. Fall 2020 numbers: 2,200 degree seeking graduate students (part-time, full-time), including 250 combined Bachelor’s/Master’s; 790 Project Dragonfly (one of the market driven tuition programs); and, 748 other fee paying/certificate. Of the 2,200 graduate students, 690 are GAs (80 on research assistantship.)

    3. There are several new graduate programs. The Masters in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Technology is in the final phase of approval. Students will be admitted starting fall 2021. The Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice have been approved by COAD and will be presented to Senate on November 9, 2020. There are several other programs in process, including, Master of Esports Management, M.S. in Sport Leadership and Management, Master of Athletic Training, Master in Medical Science, and Master of Biomedical Sciences.

    4. There are several avenues of support for graduate education, including: dissertation scholarship (12-16 awarded each year); career enhancement (Professionalism 101 series, Redhawk talks, 3-minute Thesis, GAs in administrative offices); yearly Graduate Research forum (November 6, 2020 – virtual); Graduate School Scholar Assistantships; Graduate Student Achievement awards, and Summer Scholarships (over $1 M).

    5. Items in progress include a virtual December 2020 Graduation ceremony. There will be approximately 100 Master’s students and 15 Doctoral students recognized. In the spring, there will be the 3 minute thesis and Redhawk Talks – both will be probably virtual at this time. We are still learning the new program paperwork. The conversion to Slate is ongoing – data are being moved from CollegeNet to Slate. In addition to D, E, & I initiatives, the Graduate School is working with students to ensure inclusion. There have been a number of workshops held.

    6. The goals for the Graduate School are to be involved with the APEIP process, to work with departments to generate new revenue (by recruiting students in market driven tuition programs and to double the number of students in fee paying programs), and to evaluate and address D, E, & I issues that have been uncovered.


Senator Bielo asked for approval to reorder the agenda.  The Provost will share updates after the meeting and Dr. Keith Fennen will present at the November 9th meeting. There were no objections.

New Business

  1. SR 21-06 – Changes to the composition of the University Promotion and Tenure Committee

    1. The University Promotion and Tenure policy is out of date. We are editing to acknowledge that the Dean of the Regional Campus is a Dean of an academic division. The original policy included the Dean of the Graduate, and the question has become, why would we have a Dean on the Committee that does not have direct faculty supervisory authority. The reference to the Office of the University Secretary was changed to the Office of the Provost.

    2. Dean Crowder is in support of the change. The UPT Committee meets during the January term, so the Provost would like the changes voted on today.

    3. SR 21-06 was approved 48-yes; 2-no; 1 abstention

SR 21-06

October 26, 2020

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate adopt revisions to the Miami University Policy and Information Manual, Section 2.4.C, University Promotion and Tenure Committee, as set forth below:

The Committee consists of the Provost as chair, the deans of the six (6) academic divisions and six tenured members of the instructional staff, one (1) from each of the academic divisions) appointed by the Provost with the President’s approval.  Members serve staggered three-year terms. The Provost will appoint a representative from the Office of the Provost to serve as secretary without vote.


  1. The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.