University of California, Riverside

UCR Budget News & Information



Questions & Suggestions


Do You Have a Budget Question or Suggestion?

The Budget Questions or Suggestions page is here to respond to queries and helpful ideas regarding the California’s budget’s impact on UC Riverside. If you would like to submit a comment or question, you may do so by sending an e-mail to budgetquestions@ucr.edu.

Please note that we cannot address questions about specific individuals. These questions should be addressed to your supervisor.

Townhall Questions - February 9, 2011

These questions were submitted to the Chancellor's Townhall Meeting on February 9, 2011. To jump to a specific section, please click the link below.

Staff Personnel Issues

Q: Are there plans for another furlough program? Some employees would rather face another reduction in pay rather than risk layoff.

A: The Office of the President has no plans to implement another system-wide furlough program. Individual campuses are free to do so. Campuses do not have the authority, however, to ensure that reductions in time do not affect service credit. That was possible during the recent furlough program because of Regental action.

Remember, too, that these budget cuts are permanent. Having a short-term furlough program will not solve the problem. At this time UCR is not considering the possibility of furloughs.

Q: Are there plans for another early retirement incentive program?

A: Among several options that UCOP is considering is the possibility of a phased retirement program. Employees nearing retirement age would gradually reduce their time over a period of 2-3 years until they fully retire. This would allow departments to realize some savings while also reorganizing to disperse duties to other staff and/or engage in succession planning.

Q: Will there be another START program?

A: UCOP is looking at a variation of the START program, which would allow employees to voluntarily take a reduction in time. If implemented, this program will not provide the pension service credit benefit that was part of the previous program. It would, however, provide some incentive by allowing employees to accrue vacation and sick leave at their regular rates.

Q:  Why are so many employees still getting reclasses?

A: As employees have left the university and vacant positions have been given up, units have reorganized and shifted responsibilities to other staff. In some cases, this increased level of responsibility has warranted a reclassification of the position. Reclassification reviews are conducted to ensure that assigned duties and responsibilities are appropriate for the classification level. In the past year, reclass requests have dropped off by more than 25 percent.

Q: Will there be layoffs? When?

A: Yes. With only $40 million of non-personnel related state general funds in the UCR budget, it is inevitable that we have layoffs if we are to meet the current deficit. The magnitude of the layoffs will depend on how creative we are in coming up with other alternatives, including development of new revenue streams. While the permanent cuts become effective as of July 1, it is anticipated that layoffs will occur throughout the year and into the next fiscal year. Layoff effective dates will depend on bargaining contracts or other external factors.

Q: UCR is currently advertising 60 open staff positions. Why are we doing this if there are going to be layoffs? Are we going to have a hiring freeze?

A: All current recruitments have been justified to the relevant dean or vice chancellor as mission critical. Still, all unit managers are encouraged to take a hard look at what is absolutely necessary, given the cuts we know are coming. A “soft” hiring freeze remains in place. It is difficult to implement a hard-and-fast freeze because some positions are vital to keeping the organization going.

Q: Why don’t more UCR managers embrace the idea of workplace flexibility for their employees? Since we are being asked to do more with less, can’t management reciprocate by providing some non-cost incentives such as alternate work schedules or telecommuting?

A: UCR does, in fact, allow such workplace flexibility. It is a viable alternative for some employees and offices. Each situation, however, is different. Managers must determine what is in the best interest of their office and other employees as well as the person making the request. In some instances, simply the fact that our offices have been reduced to bare bones staff means that flexible work schedules cannot be accommodated because of the need to maintain coverage in the office. Each request for flexibility must be considered on a case-by-case basis. A caveat is that, for represented employees, the relevant contract applies.

Academic Personnel Issues

Q: Will there be a 3 percent merit increase for faculty and non-represented staff?

A: Whether and when there might be merit increases for faculty and non-represented staff is uncertain at this time. It is still under discussion at Office of the President.

Q: How do UCR’s student/faculty and faculty/management ratios of today compare to those of 1998-99? (The amount of state funding UC will receive for 11-12 is the same level as in 98-99.)

A:

  98-99 09-10
Student/faculty ratio
(Actual)
 21.4 26.4
Management (SMG & MSP)/
Ladder faculty ratio
 0.36 0.41
Q: Will we freeze faculty positions?

A: As of now we have not imposed a universal faculty hiring freeze. Deans must give careful consideration to the circumstances within their respective schools and colleges and determine whether to go forward with hiring. Many factors go into making that decision, including teaching requirements, critical mass in an area of research, and delivery of our core mission.

Student Issues

Q: What is being done to accommodate students getting classes they need? How does the new 16-unit enrollment limit play a role?

A: UCR established a Course Management Workgroup made up of associate deans from each college, key academic and administrative staff, and student affairs representatives. The workgroup meets regularly to assure that there will be sufficient courses each quarter to allow students to get the classes they need. The workgroup looks at course offerings, demand, space, and other issues that factor into the equation. Recently it was determined that a 16-unit limit would be advisable. (15 units are considered a full load.) By implementing this limit, the campus can assure that every student has enough units available to make timely progress toward degree. If some students take higher workloads, they prevent others from taking classes they need. Students with unique circumstances can petition their academic adviser to request a higher unit limit and all students will be allowed to enroll in more than 16 units during the open enrollment period.

Q: How can students today be expected to contribute to society (in the form of jobs, taxes, and stimulating the economy) when they are discouraged from getting an education because of fee increases, fewer classes, and less staff to teach those classes?

A: In testimony before the legislature recently, President Yudof said he has no plans to increase UC’s tuition beyond the 8 percent increase already approved for fall. But he added that he cannot guarantee this without knowing the results of the June election. Student fees/tuition have increased by roughly 50 percent in the past three years, placing an increasing burden on students and their families to bear the cost of higher education. All we can do to try to keep the reins on fee increases and to ensure that enough classes are offered for students to graduate in a timely manner is to continue to put pressure on the governor and state legislature to adequately fund the university. Since 1990, the state’s support for students has declined 57 percent.

Students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni need to participate in advocacy programs, talk to friends and neighbors, and educate them about what the June vote means to UC and our students.

Q: We are hearing that there will be fewer TA positions due to budget cuts. How will graduate students pay for costs of living? Also, there will be an impact on the quality of undergraduate education.

A: Just about everything is on the table for possible budget cuts, including TA positions. You are correct in that this will create a hardship for some graduate students and will also impact undergraduate teaching. To the extent that TAships are reduced, we intend to target weak graduate programs. The Graduate Division will attempt to support some of the affected students with graduate fellowships. In addition, faculty will need to redouble efforts to provide external funding in support of TAs, and students themselves can seek external fellowship support.

Budget Process

Q: What is being done about the CNAS deficit?

A: We have asked for comprehensive data from college and central files to analyze where the deficit originated and why there are differences of opinion as to how it occurred. In the end, we will deal with it in a fair way and hold people accountable for their decisions, as appropriate. We are currently in discussion with the dean and others. We ask that the faculty be patient while we work through this and not give undue credence to some of the misinformation that has been circulating.

Q:  Will UCR attempt to bring in more international students to increase revenues?

A: Yes. This is important to the campus both as a way of enhancing the diversity and vibrancy of the campus and as a source of additional revenues. Chancellor White has called for development of strategies that would increase the vitality of UCR’s learning environment and enable all students – undergraduate and graduate, domestic and international – to be better prepared to live, work, compete, and prosper in a global community.

Already the campus has enhanced efforts to recruit international students to UCR. In addition, the senate has recognized differences in educational systems in other countries and is working to allow the application and review process to accommodate some of those differences.

Finally, a small team is developing a proposal that identifies multiple options for increasing our international undergraduates: pathway programs, direct admissions, and international community college transfers. The proposal will be presented to the chancellor in the next few weeks.

Q: The chancellor has said he will protect revenue generating areas such as advancement and the research office. Aren’t they just as likely to have inefficiencies?

A: Yes. But the vice chancellors who oversee these areas are expected to manage their resources effectively and efficiently. To the extent that they do, they will have more resources available for priority programs and initiatives. It is important to support these areas during times of budget reductions because they are, in effect, our “seed corn,” which will provide nourishment in the form of future resources.

Q: The Riverside Faculty Association is considering commissioning an independent audit of the UCR budget to better understand where money comes from and how it is spent.

A: The faculty may call for such an audit at any time. The campus is committed to transparency in the budget. This fall the campus held a senior leadership retreat that identified as a major goal the development of web-based information that is clear, complete, and readily understood by the average person. We have looked at formats developed by other UC campuses such as Berkeley and Santa Cruz as good examples of how do to this. In addition, the newly formed Chancellor’s Budget Advisory Council, made up largely of faculty, will also help provide transparency and increased understanding.

Q: There are no students on the Chancellor’s Budget Advisory Council. Can one be appointed?

A: The new Chancellor's Budget Advisory Council will provide guidance and recommendations. Those recommendations will be brought before the Chancellor's Cabinet before final decisions are made. The cabinet includes both the head of the Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), who provide the student perspective.

Utilities Savings

Q: Why don’t we use less water for irrigation? What will that save?

A: Landscape irrigation on campus costs approximately $78,000 annually. It is controlled and regulated with the Toro Sentinel Control system. The Toro Sentinel is a centrally controlled computer irrigation system. It uses “satellite units” out in the field where individual irrigation controllers, (irrigation clocks) were. Each satellite is capable of radio communication with the central computer at The UCR Grounds shop.

UCR has an on-site weather station that records wind run, solar radiation, rain, humidity, temperature, etc. These factors are converted into the evapo-transpiration rate, (ET). The ET is a measure of how much water should be replaced each day due to weather and “plant type” water needs. The system then adjusts the irrigation scheduling based on this information and the data are downloaded daily by radio to each satellite unit before the night’s watering cycle. This will help to eliminate over- or under-watering.

At this time 60% of this project is completed; the rest will be finished in about two years, bringing approximately $10,000 more savings to our annual irrigation costs.

Q: Can we save money by better regulating heating and air conditioning?

A: We can save electricity and gas by turning the thermostat up 2-3 degrees in the summer, and down 2-3 degrees in the winter. The savings would be about $20,000 during the summer and $20,000 in the winter.

Many of our buildings on campus have automatic setbacks. This automatically shuts down the heat and/or air conditioning between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. We are in the process of investigating which other buildings could use this technology on campus. Our new buildings, for instance MS&E, are programmed to do this automatically.

One of the best ways for the campus to conserve energy is for people to give up their personal space heaters, which draw much more electricity than computers.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5201
Fax: (951) 827-3866
E-mail: budgetquestions@ucr.edu

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