Friday, June 29, 2007

Acquisitions and Budgets

For the first time in the 6+ years that I have been here, I feel like I have finally been able to achieve what I have always wanted to do in dividing the budget. This institution has struggled financially in the past quite severely. When I first came I only spent 1/6 of the amount that I spent this year. So we have improved significantly.

About 4 years ago we were working on accreditation. The acquisitions budget was divided (into percentages) by the Accreditation Steering subcommittee. I am on that committee so I did have some input. With 4 years behind us I have been able to catch up in areas that we were lacking. Yet there is always the drive for balance. I did not feel we really had acheived that balance.

I have now written up a proposal, and received approval from two key faculty members to adjust those percentages. This will now go to the appropriate Accreditation Steering subcommittee. Furthermore, I have divided each of three major areas into "areas of study" so that within these three areas, each professor gets the same amount of money spent on them as the others.

Balance can be looked at in several ways. In General Education vs theology we have improved. Where we are still unbalanced is within these categories. Some Gen Ed professors did very well in submitting requests. So we are now heavy in two areas of Gen Ed, but still lacking in others. The same can be said for Bible and Theology.

I'm sure we all have similar difficulties. Some faculty members are very dutiful in giving you requests/lists of books to order. Others do not. This year I am going to meet with each faculty member and do the looking for them. This should help with the disparity of requests.

When it came to deciding how to subdivide the major sections of the budget, I was in quandry for some time how to do this. Do I divide it by number of majors we offer? Do I divide it by number of professors? Do I divide it by ratio of students to a class/subject? What to do, what to do.

I finally came up with looking at "areas of study." This was an easier handle. We are a small school so we don't have full fledge deparments in some cases. Those are called "programs" with program directors. Others are big enough (with more than one professor) to be called departments. Most of our teachers are full time, but some are part time. But they all teach classes that are necessary. So how do I divide and be equitable to all.

In these areas of study I have mixed in the faculty with them. Most cases have one, maybe two professors to each area. This is particularly true in our General Education "section." I came up with 12 "areas of study" for Gen Ed. They get about a third of the budget. So that is divided by 12 and I now know how much will be spent for each of those "areas of study" for Gen Ed.

Within Professional Education/College (PEC) there are 3 major areas. These are subdivided into a total of 14 "areas of study" with the appropriate faculty assigned to each. I gave them all equal weight, however two areas have two faculty assigned to one area. (They get one "bite" so to speak.) PEC also gets about 1/3 of the acquisitions budget. Their third is divided by 14.

Professional Education/Seminary (PES) has 4 faculty and areas of study. They, too, get about 1/3 of the pie. Divided by 4 they do get bigger individual servings. But given that Seminary resources are so lacking, and given that most of their resources are also usable by the upperclassmen of college, this is still worth the pieces being divided this way.

We do have 10% of our budget that is devoted to reference and non-curriculum subjects. Once that 10% is taken off the top the rest is more easily divided into the thirds mentioned above, (give or take 5%).

Even though we are required to purchase one copy of all textbooks, they can still be assigned to each of the three areas mentioned. Overall, this plan will give us a much better sense of what we are purchasing for what area and not be heavy in one area and lean-to-nothing in another. This gives me great relief. Time will tell this time next year if this worked like I am hoping it will.


Anonymous said...


This isn't a commment on your latest post; I just couldn't find an email address for you. I'm 50+ years old, and had a great career in broadcasting until my company was sold and my job was eliminated a couple of months ago. I've loved libraries all my life, and one part of my job in broadcast news was as the manager of a library of news scripts and video files.
I'm on the verge of signing up for an MLIS, which is a very expensive venture, and I would just like your advice on such a career change. Thanks.

Len Modzelesky, former News Operations Manager, WNEP-TV, a division of the New York Times Company.

penguinn said...

that's really hard to say. I realy love learning new things, I love research and I wanted to have a job that was more than just entry level. So for me it was a good choice. I don't think I'll go for anything higher altho' I know of many others older than I am that have gone on, with their education. (2d master, doctorate...)
I know people are living longer than before but I really don't want to work more than about 10 15 years total. There are many other things I want to do so I'm hoping I can retire when I"m 65.
I think I would look around at several Library schools. They all have a different emphasis. talk to some librarians you know and get their feed back about where they went to school. I went to Emporia (KS) state Univ. It's big emphasis is on the theory behind the profession. I found it fascinating but really wish I could have had more hands-on/practical training then what they require/offer.
I guess another thing you need to think about is how much longer do you think you want to work and will it be worth the investment.
Another reason why I did, was my husband wanted me to have a means of supporting myself if anything should happen to him.
I don't know if this was of any help or not. There really is quite a connection between broadcasting and librarianship, they both deal with information - especially the dissemination of it - just done different ways.
Good Luck - hope that helps.