CALS Faculty Senate: State of the College

Report
CALS Faculty Senate: State of the College
May 1, 2013
Welcome!
Kathryn J. Boor, Ph.D.
The Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
State Budget Under the Microscope
•
SUNY operating funds to Cornell continue
at last year’s level
•
No SUNY 5-year capital plan or critical
maintenance funds in FY14
•
CALS programs held steady or slightly
increased; Community IPM & FarmNet
each received $100K increases
•
$19M increase to Environmental
Protection Fund may help several CALS
programs
•
$40K hops appropriation to Geneva;
Contracts signed for $4.7M Geneva
greenhouse renovation
•
Partner ag industry groups receive
increases
•
CCE & Harvest NY funding is flat for FY14
CALS in the Rankings
•
Bloomberg Businessweek ranked
the Undergraduate Business
Program in the Dyson School 3rd
in the nation for the second year
in a row
•
Program also named 4th in
Entrepreneurship and 5th in
Finance
•
U.S. News and World Report
ranked Cornell 3rd in the nation
for graduate
Agricultural/Biological
Engineering & 11th for
Environmental Engineering, a
move upwards of one position
over last year
Environmental Science & Sustainability Major
•
ESS Major derived from merger of three
former environmental majors – Natural
Resources, the Science of Natural &
Environmental Systems (SNES) &
Environmental Explorations
•
Curriculum emphasizes social dimensions
of sustainability by integrating social
sciences with physical, chemical, &
biological sciences
•
35 faculty from across 15 departments to
teach courses in ESS major
•
100+ additional applications to new major
over combined total of previous three
Goals of the Special Committee for Plant Sciences
•
Coordination of strategic planning & faculty
hiring
•
Sustaining & enhancing research excellence
in the plant sciences
•
Development of curriculum & student
support services to increase number of
undergraduate students in the Plant Science
major
•
Better coordination of graduate student
support across plant science fields
•
Enhanced alignment of extension activities
with research strengths
•
Coordination of administrative support
services among plant science units
Good News: Admissions
•
19% rise in freshman applications
this year over last
•
24% increase in out-of-state & 23%
rise in international applications
•
Class of ’17 the most diverse in
CALS history, with a 22% rise in
applications from students selfidentified from an underrepresented minority group
•
The popularity of our new majors
suggests strategic changes to our
curriculum are resonating with
students & their growing interest
in agriculture, food security,
sustainability, & the environment
Question #1a: How Are F&A Revenues Used?
Faculty Senate Question:
How are F&A revenues used, and how are rates determined? What is the
broad context in this arena?
Response:
•
Facilities & Administrative (F&A) revenues pay for the fundamental
infrastructure needed to support research in CALS & at the University
•
F&A revenues fund mission-critical needs such as building & equipment
depreciation, debt financing, operations & maintenance, library support,
general & sponsored project admin., office supplies, & student services
•
In FY 13, CALS F&A expenses total approx. $86 million, on F&A revenues
of $15 million, leaving $71 million to be paid from other college resources
•
F&A expenses include legacy debt-financing on Corson-Mudd, and more
recent debt for faculty & animal care facilities in Weill & ECRF
Question #1b: How Are F&A Rates Determined?
Faculty Senate Question:
How are F&A revenues used, and how are rates determined? What is the
broad context in this arena?
Response:
•
F&A rates are set by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
based on data from Cornell on the costs of doing research at the University
•
HHS-determined rate of 54% applies to most federal contracts
•
USDA contracts capped at 42% due to specific federal legislation
•
Third tier of rates, such as w/ state contracts, are subsidized by CALS & can
be as low as 18% for mission-critical projects
•
Cornell charges CALS a minimum of 20% on all research expenditures,
therefore CALS subsidizes from tuition and other college resources the 2%
difference as well as the remaining F&A costs to the college
Question #1c: Fringe/F&A on Product Testing?
Faculty Senate Question:
Is CALS concerned about the future demise of product testing in support of NY
farmers, due to high F&A and fringe charges on the testing income?
Response:
•
CALS cannot subsidize product testing at the expense of other pressing
needs; private industry needs to pay for services that enhance their profits
on products marketed in NY
•
In FY 13, the University changed fringe policy to allow temporary employees
to be hired on endowed lines at reduced fringe rates: 10% for hires of less
than six months; 36% for hires of more than six months
•
CALS & Cornell exploring allowing regular technical staff to switch to
endowed lines. However, any such switch would be permanent for the
employee
Question #2: Audit/Compliance Requirements
Faculty Senate Question:
The burden for faculty to comply with audit-threat-driven financial management
has become impossible. What changes at BSC can be made to address this?
Response:
•
BSC instituting a Lean Process Improvement initiative to review policies &
procedures with the aim of enhancing efficiency & customer service
•
The University is under increased federal scrutiny on its handling of
sponsored research funds; many research institutions, including Cornell,
cited & fined for discrepancies in grant management & record keeping
•
DFA & the University auditors have adopted a conservative approach to
risk. Increased regulation & greater enforcement of the rules has led to
frustration & confusion for both faculty and staff
“eShop Today & eShop Tomorrow” Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OgviUmj4bQ&feature=youtu.be
Question #2a: Faculty Approval on All Purchases?
Faculty Senate Question:
Why do faculty have to approve every purchase made with grant money, even
when it is used to support the research program funded by the grant?
Response:
•
We are not aware of any such CALS or University requirement
•
If faculty are being told this, it is either the result of a departmental
requirement or a misunderstanding of the rules
•
If you have any further questions on this issue, please speak with your
department business officer, Marge Ferguson or Jeanine Masse in the BSC
Question #2b: Faculty Signatures on all Invoices?
Faculty Senate Question:
Why do faculty have to sign every invoice that comes from each of the often
many subcontractors that we have on large projects?
Response:
•
This a new requirement instituted within the last year that resulted from an
internal Cornell audit
•
The policy has not been consistently enforced across Cornell; however, it
has been in some units
•
The University is considering a change to the policy to apply only to highrisk transactions, such as foreign subcontractors or subcontractors
previously identified as high-risk for credit or other reasons
•
CALS will continue to press for this change
Question #2c: Concerns w/ Listing Business Purposes
Faculty Senate Question:
What can be done to make the process surrounding the listing & justifying of a
business purpose for purchases less onerous?
Response:
•
Due to increased federal scrutiny, DFA & the University auditors are
enforcing a strict & narrow interpretation of the rules surrounding the listing
& justification of a valid business purpose on purchases
•
To ensure speedier processing, be sure to include both the project name
and the account number on every submitted receipt or purchase order
•
For reagents, provide multiple account numbers and projects on the receipt
if the materials will be used for more than one project
•
However, items generally considered office supplies (lab notebooks, labels,
paper towels, etc.) will not be approved unless explicitly justified in the grant
Question #2d: Product Testing Agreements
Faculty Senate Question:
Why has the process for product testing agreements become more difficult,
requiring the signatures of three different people in three different locations?
Response:
•
Current policy dates to 2006, when it was determined that product testing
revenues were often being placed in private faculty gift accounts to avoid
paying F&A and fringe, a serious violation of Cornell & state benefit rules
•
A recent audit showed that in some instances, such monies were still being
managed incorrectly
•
Departments are responsible for the proper record keeping & financial
management of their faculty’s product testing agreements & revenues
•
These agreements are sponsored research; the current policy is less
burdensome than the alternative, which is full OSP review
Question #3: CIT Changes to Web Hosting
Faculty Senate Question:
What are the changes CIT is making to web hosting services, and how does
CALS plan to assist with the transition?
Response:
•
CIT has informed faculty and staff who administer departmental, lab or
programmatic websites of a University-wide server transition that may result
in new monthly charges for web hosting
•
CIT is attempting to commoditize web hosting, as part of their new cost
recovery model. Many new hosting options are free; others may be billable
•
Contact your local IT support staff or Dan Hazlitt, CALS Assistant Director of
IT, to discuss potential options for the websites you manage
•
At this time the college has no plans to provide funding to support the
transition of unit, faculty or programmatic sites to paid monthly hosting
Question #4: University Budget Model
Faculty Senate Question:
What are the current views on the Provost’s new budget model? How will
these changes impact CALS?
Response:
•
Costs apportioned to the unit where they originate & revenue distributed via
a metric-derived model, consistently & equitably across Cornell
•
University General Purpose budget eliminated; Provost initiatives to be
funded by “taxing” unit revenue
•
Ultimate goal: “One Cornell,” where no college is disadvantaged by the
budget model
•
Provost has promised to “hold harmless” units in deficit this year. However,
rising financial aid & SIP costs will compel CALS to explore new ways to
free additional college resources to invest in faculty hiring
Question #5: CALS Programmatic Priorities
Faculty Senate Question:
How does the CALS leadership go about identifying new programmatic
priorities across the college?
Response:
•
We have executed against priorities laid out in college strategic plan,
developed in 2009: http://cals.cornell.edu/about/priorities/
•
We developed the Knowledge with a Public Purpose mission statement with
iterative input from the CALS community that articulates our four core
priority areas as a college. These inform investments & strategic decisions
•
We evaluate departmental annual reports for emerging needs & trends,
especially as they intersect with the four core priorities areas
•
We evaluate & address opportunities as the arise, emphasizing those that
align with one or more of the four core priorities
CALS Core Priorities & the Land Grant Mission
Knowledge with a public purpose
Food & Energy
Systems
Environmental
Sciences
Sustainability
Economic &
Community Vitality
Life Sciences
Questions?

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