Amherst 250 Plan
The data on which this allocation process relies reflects the performance of the colleges and schools. Some of the indicators the campus collects centrally as part of the regular operations of enrollment and financial management. Other indicators, especially those that relate to quality and productivity of research and creative activity, require definition and in some instances, collection, by departments and programs themselves within a campus-wide framework. The frame of reference is always a moving four-year window with special attention to trends rather than annual one-time changes. The best data on quality and productivity for these purposes comes from national comparisons by discipline, rather than internal comparisons between disciplines. The performance indicators for political science differ in many ways from those in psychology for example, and what we expect from the English department differs from the expectations for chemistry. The campus will use national data wherever available, and schools and colleges will develop appropriate measures for teaching and research performance that reference the national context of particular disciplines as needed.
Academic units also have the reference that comes from the periodic AQAD process that provides a qualitative as well as quantitative review of each academic department and unit. This information supplements and deepens the data available from national and other quantitative sources. This review process also assesses the effectiveness of the various units in meeting other campus goals related to diversity, student success, and service obligations.
Finally, the campus capital planning process serves as the reference point for the capital requirements of any changes in teaching and research, whether related to classroom renovation or construction, teaching laboratories, office space, research space, or infrastructure needs.
Each year, after July 1 when the budget closes, the campus will prepare complete revenue and expenditure budget and performance reviews for the each college and school for the most recent four years. The budget and performance reviews include all funds and in addition, all quantitative data on credit hours and research expenditures. To that information, we add data on faculty size and distribution, data from the national references, and other systematic and reliable information on the performance of colleges and schools. Based on this information, we can then update the budget projection for the next five years, accounting for changes observed in the past four and recognizing any anticipated changes in the next five. Each year, the campus updates the five-year budget plan to reflect the performance of the most recently completed four years.
The Provost’s office, in consultation with the Deans, provides the information and projections of such items as faculty hiring pools and other support costs that drive the academic part of the budget projections, and develops the annual performance data. The other vice chancellors provide information and projections that reflect changes in their areas of responsibility (for example uncontrollable cost increases in utilities, centrally charged services from the university system, increases in health care and other cost, increases in student fees and financial aid, investments in diversity and other student services, anticipated revenue from gifts and endowments, and the like).