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UCR's Resource Management Strategy

UCR's Resource Management Strategy

(January 8, 2002)

David H. Warren, Executive Vice Chancellor

I write to provide information about the University of California's budget situation and how we at UCR plan to manage our resources during the current period of fiscal difficulty in the State of California.

Information about California's 2002-03 budget will continue to evolve over the next few months, and it will likely not be final until after July 1, 2002. The overall extent of the state's fiscal problem will not be known even then, and it is almost certain that the period of stringency will extend to affect the 2003-04 budget as well. California's economic recovery will certainly begin before 2003-04, but the current state budget deficit will require stringency measures to carry over into that year.

The overall multiyear impact of the California budget situation on the University of California is unknown, but the indications are that the problems will be comparable to those that we experienced in the early 1990s. It is the intention of the UC President's Office to meet as much of the actual cut as possible by eliminating funding for a number of special programs that were begun during the several years of expansive budgets. Despite these measures, it is very clear that individual campuses will be required to make significant reductions in their permanent budgets over the period 2002-2004. For several reasons, UCR is better prepared to manage its resources now than was the case in 1991. Why? Because we currently hold more of our resources in temporary form than we did a decade ago. We have better budget management systems in place. And most important, we have gone through an extensive planning process in which we have identified our core values and our major objectives in the context of Vision 2010.

We must manage our resources strategically through the period of budgetary stringency in order to stay on course to achieve the objectives of Vision 2010. This involves reaffirming our core values and the objectives that exemplify them, and it involves using resource management strategies that are consonant with achieving those objectives. It involves making, and continually refining, estimates of the parameters of the budget situation and the time over which it will persist. Only if we engage in this kind of strategic process will we emerge from the period of stringency with a solid foundation upon which to continue to build our future strength.

KEY VALUES. Following are the key values reaffirmed by the campus leadership:

  • Maintain and develop areas of academic strength within and across units
  • Foster a vibrant research environment
  • Promote healthy graduate programs
  • Improve the quality of the undergraduate experience

    • Overhaul advising
    • Reorient preparatory education
    • Revise general education

  • Increase amount (and proportion) of extramural support in resource base
  • Maintain and develop the academic, student, and administrative infrastructure to support the campus in the most effective and efficient manner possible
  • Preserve human capital

STRATEGIES FOR PURSUING KEY VALUES. Two important premises underlie the strategies to follow.

First, it is important to have the best overall understanding possible of the temporal and fiscal extent of the budget problem, so that we can envision the entire impact and thus optimize our planning for it. As various pieces of information become available to us (e.g., the Governor's Budget and the May Budget Revision), we will make this information broadly available to the campus.

Second, we cannot conduct 'business as usual' with a significant reduction in our state resource base. Therefore we need to do less, and/or do what we do more efficiently. Everyone in the campus community can help in this regard by conserving resources and eliminating non-critical expenditures. We must also allocate new resources strategically and unequally, in order to preserve intended strengths as a foundation for the post-stringency period. This means making disproportionate cuts in other areas.

Establish Priorities:

In the planning and budget process, outlined below, it will be critical for each unit head (VCs, deans) to identify priorities within the unit, consonant with their most important objectives within the framework of Vision 2010.

Enrollment Growth:

  • Since enrollment is the only source of new state resources, we must maintain enrollment growth insofar as possible without sacrificing quality.

    Preserve Human Capital:

  • The campus recognizes that employees are its most valuable resource. We hope and intend to minimize the impact of the current fiscal situation on employees. However, should layoffs become necessary for budgetary or programmatic reasons, Human Resources and the control units will work together to place preferential rehire candidates on campus from a preferential rehire pool, per appropriate bargaining unit agreements and personnel policy. Open recruitment will only occur after these steps have been taken.

  • The campus will assist those employees who are facing layoff with a variety of career-related professional development opportunities.

    Identify and Implement Efficiencies:

  • We are asking each unit head to review activities under his/her jurisdiction in order to identify efficiencies or more effective alternatives. In addition, we are asking unit heads to help identify activities in other organizations that might be conducted more efficiently.

    Eliminate Non-critical Activities:

  • We are asking each unit head to review activities under his/her jurisdiction in order to identify activities that need not be done. In addition, we are asking unit heads to help identify activities in other organizations that might be eliminated.

    Balanced Budgets:

  • Each organization must operate within its budget. Budget deficits will not be covered centrally.


    1. The current Planning and Budget Process will continue on its present course through January 15, 2002, when the plans are due in the Chancellor's office. Great emphasis should be placed on establishing priorities within each unit. Unit heads may anticipate budgetary stringencies in setting their priorities, but in this phase it is not possible to provide budget reduction parameters within which to fine-tune anticipated reductions.

    2. We expect that the Governor's budget will be available in the second week of January. Based on its information and evaluation by UCOP, we will make our best estimate of the duration and magnitude of UCR's budget problem, and we will ask each unit to conduct an analysis of the prospective impact of one or more budget reduction scenarios. In this, as in the initial phase, emphasis will be placed on priority setting within each unit, merging the priorities from the initial phase with the needs identified in the budget reduction analyses. The unit's analysis should make explicit reference to the key values set forth earlier. These analyses and reformulated priorities will be due in the Chancellor's office by March 1, 2002.

    3. Planning and budget hearings will be conducted as previously envisioned in March and April. The impact of both the prospective augmentations and the prospective reductions will be taken into account and evaluated in reference to the key values set forth earlier. The hearing 'audience' will include the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Deans, and Academic Senate representatives.

    4. The resulting considerations will be modulated by any new information available in the May Budget Revision as well as SIR and other enrollment information, and the results will be finalized and communicated to the units and the campus.

    5. The outcome will be a resource picture for each unit for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 years. The campus will attempt to provide units with cash-flow flexibility such that the impact of any reductions can be played out over the entire period.

    The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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