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Thursday, October 11, 2007

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Vitoria

Academic affairs unrsdepent its budget during this time period (2003-2007). Departments, after taking cuts, then went and unrsdepent their budgets. Carry-over debts should never be square . And carry-over underspending should not be square. The fiscal budget is supposed to reset. It should get built to reflect true spending. It should also be monitored to prevent overspending. That said, the EMU budget books have not had actual spending in them for years. This report is first time I have seen actuals laid next to budget. I am glad to see this report. It is important for transparency. This data set is very surprising. I'd bet other people like Bob Neely are surprised too. There are other interesting things in there, and I only got to page 5 out of 95. It is also missing key elements, but its a good start. I too am glad this information is here now. But it is getting late, and we are way behind.As far as who to believe, the only thing I can say is we all have to make the time and effort to learn how to read the numbers. It is important. I'll also say all of the AAUP data I have ever seen has been provided by EMU itself. The AAUP did not make up the numbers. The numbers are all provided by EMU publications, as were all the numbers I just provided you. There are lots of data sets available online.Then it is important to present the numbers in an organized, logical manner. This is where I think teachers who understand their audience have a huge advantage in getting the message across. A single data point is useless. Pie graphs are hopeless for comparing across time. The faculty do a very good job preparing for the audience. Comparing and contrasting over a time period the changes are very important. I would hope to see this type of comparison on Monday. I fear I will see charts and charts of numbers in puny font. I would hope to see more than select pages from the report.As to fixing every problem: start where you suspect a problem and build one line at a time. The AAUP has done a lot of work on the faculty salary line, convincingly identified errors, so why not start there? They are experts on the line as it directly is tied to dues so they know and have an incentive to know the actuals. It also appears to be a big chunk of money that is similar in size to the proposed cuts. It would seem logical to start there.No one has to completely start over, but when you identify a mistake I would think the best thing to do is to fix it correctly. Then find and fix the next one, and keep on going! We have a responsibilty to the students, their parents, and the taxpayers to do this.Lastly, not so to trivilize it, but it is ultimately addition and subtraction. We pay a lot of people to be experts in adding and subtracting to $300M. We should demand excellence.JP

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