Programmatic Sustainability Initiative

Programmatic Sustainability Initiative: What and Why?

The Programmatic Sustainability Initiative addresses the adverse effects of cost-cutting in tough fiscal times. This year, the Faculty was not able to move forward with any new tenure-track faculty positions because our budget includes a recurring significant deficit. We need to be able to free up resources so as to invest in key priorities. The Programmatic Sustainability Initiative is intended to enable agency within our units, rather than to impose top-down decision-making. The Initiative assumes and encourages faculty, staff and student participation. Decisions are being made collaboratively and communicated in a timely manner.

The Programmatic Sustainability Initiative will support unit-based priority-setting that enables decision-makers to assess options for change in a transparent and rigorous manner and come up with an explicit plan for resource allocation tied to strategic priorities.

There is no part of the Initiative that includes an audit or a program or Department review.

How Will Unit Members Get Access to Budget Data to Support Decision-Making?

A key element of this Initiative is Open Access to all available budget data. At every step, we have offered to all the Units that one or more members of the Dean’s leadership team whose portfolios include “management of the budget”, including Dr. Blye Frank, Dean Faculty of Education, Dr. Mary Bryson as Senior Associate Dean, and Assistant Dean Finance, Clara Ng, will be delighted to take up an invitation to visit the Units and talk about any part of the Faculty’s budget.

What Kinds of Support will the Units have Access to?

We have engaged the expertise of Dr. Craig Mitton, UBC School of Population and Public Health & Managing Partner, Prioritize Consulting, and Dr. Francois Dionne, Managing Partner, Prioritize Consulting, to assist us to carry out the process, with which they are very familiar. Dr. Mitton and Dr. Dionne recently supported this process at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, where an $8,000,000 structural deficit was reduced to below $2,000,000 and significant resources were freed to up invest in new positions and initiatives.

How can We Afford the Programmatic Sustainability Initiative at This Time?

The UBC Office of the Provost has provided a grant to cover the expenses associated with the Programmatic Sustainability Initiative. We will distribute a significant portion of this grant ($40,000) to each of the participating units EDST, EDCP, LLED, ECPS, KIN, TEO, PDCE and DNSO (up to $5,000/unit) to defray expenses that are part of carrying out the Initiative, including but not limited to hiring a meeting facilitator, catering for meetings or other costs.

What Are the Participating Units and Who is Providing Leadership?

Programmatic Sustainability Leadership Team (PSLT)

  • Dr. Mary Bryson (Chair)
  • Dean Blye Frank
  • Heads of Participating Units, Dr. Lee Gunderson, Dr. Anthony Paré, Dr. Robert Boushel, Dr. Wendy Carr, Dr. Samson Nashon, Dr. Ali Abdi, Dr. Mark Edwards
  • Clara Ng
  • ErinRose Handy
  • Tracy Wyman
  • Augmented by consultants: Dr. Craig Mitton, UBC School of Population and Public Health & Managing Partner, Prioritize Consulting and Dr. Francois Dionne, Managing Partner, Prioritize Consulting

Operations Team (reports to PSLT)

  • Clara Ng (Chair)
  • Tracy Wyman
  • Ayaz Mahmood
  • Dr. Mary Bryson
  • ErinRose Handy
  • Augmented by consultants

Programmatic Unit Teams

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students

    within EDST, EDCP, LLED, ECPS, KIN, TEO, PDCE and DNSO

What is the Timeline for the Programmatic Sustainability Initiative?

  • Two Town Hall meetings were held on January 30 and 31, 2017.
  • Jan 2017—Stakeholder information sessions: Depts, School, units, Town Halls
  • Feb-April—Proposal Development: Develop criteria, rating scales, templates
  • May-July—Decision Making: Rate, make recommendations, feedback

Where Can I Learn More about Programmatic Sustainability Initiative?

Two Town Hall meetings were held on January 30 and 31, 2017.

Case Study, Programmatic Sustainability, Medicine UBC

Download the Faculty of Medicine Prioritize Case Study

Academic publication by Dr. Mitton, et al, Case Study Dalhousie Medicine

Academic Medicine - Mitton et al. 2013

Academic publication by Dr. Mitton, et al, Case Study Dalhousie Medicine

Academic Medicine - Mitton et al. 2013

February 15, 2017 | Update: Criteria Development | Word | PDF
March 6, 2017 | Update: Criteria Development | Word | PDF

PSI Proposal template
Sample Templates:
  • Distance Education PSI Template | Excel
  • MEd Cohort Budget Worksheet Template | Excel
  • Summer Institute Budget Worksheet Template | Excel

What is a Programmatic Sustainability Initiative? So what? Implications
Emphasis on programmatic sustainability links finance decision-making with an academic strategic trajectory Planning beyond just cost-cutting, because “business as usual” is not working anymore Address adverse effects of cost-cutting including loss of research capacity and diminishing research infrastructure
Build fiscal literacy and knowledge in programmatic units so as to move forwards from a time of historic budgeting to a time of revenue-based budgeting Agency for decision-making in the programmatic units, rather than top-down Build confidence and increase engagement in units
Strategic investment in programs Diminish focus only on deficit-reduction or breaking even = greater buy-in Anticipate and plan for sustainable growth
Strategic investment in TT and 12-Month faculty positions. Enable faculty renewal = sustainability Anticipate and plan for sustainable growth
Manageable and strategic relationship to “revenue generation” – including MED Cohorts and international programmatic engagement Evidence-based programmatic decision-making = accountability Programmatic units curate programmatic offerings and faculty workload
Manageable and strategic relationship to enrolment targets and sessional hiring Evidence-based programmatic decision-making = transparency Resources are better aligned with strategic priorities and objectives of the organization

Why are we doing it?

  • The fair and transparent process formally links our budget decision-making with our strategic plan so we can align spending with available resources.
  • Programmatic sustainability addresses adverse effects of cost-cutting in tough fiscal times to enhance local agency within units, rather than impose top-down decision-making.
  • The process enables faculty, staff and student participation.
  • Decisions will be made collaboratively and communicated in a timely manner.
  • The Office of the Provost has provided a grant that covers the expenses associated with the Programmatic Sustainability Initiative.

Who is leading it?

Programmatic Sustainability Leadership Team (PSLT)

  • Dr. Mary Bryson (Chair)
  • Dean Blye Frank
  • Heads of Participating Units, Dr. Lee Gunderson, Dr. Anthony Paré, Dr. Robert Boushel, Dr. Wendy Carr, Dr. Samson Nashon, Dr. Ali Abdi, Dr. Mark Edwards
  • Clara Ng
  • ErinRose Handy
  • Tracy Wyman
  • Augmented by consultants: Dr. Craig Mitton, UBC School of Population and Public Health & Managing Partner, Prioritize Consulting and Dr. Francois Dionne, Managing Partner, Prioritize Consulting

Operations Team (reports to PSLT)

  • Clara Ng (Chair)
  • Tracy Wyman
  • Ayaz Mahmood
  • Dr. Mary Bryson
  • ErinRose Handy
  • Augmented by consultants

Programmatic Unit Teams

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students

within EDST, EDCP, LLED, ECPS, KIN, TEO, PDCE and DNSO

Town Halls

Two Town Hall meetings were held on January 30 and 31, 2017.

Timeline

  • January 30 and 31, from 3-4pm, Town Hall meetings
  • Jan 2017—Stakeholder information sessions: Depts, School, units, Town Halls
  • Feb-April—Proposal Development: Develop criteria, rating scales, templates
  • May-July—Decision Making: Rate, make recommendations, feedback