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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Procedures to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions

FEBRUARY 10, 1993

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Preface | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | General Issues | General Guidelines | Criteria | Amendment | Appendix

This document1 establishes budget reallocation and reduction procedures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for academic and support and service programs in circumstances where significant budget reallocations or reductions are required. While regular biennial budget planning may draw upon some aspects of the procedures included in this document, it is anticipated that the procedures herein will be used principally in budget cycles where there are significant internally or externally driven budget shortfalls. It supersedes all other campus level documents that address budget reallocation or reduction procedures, except the Bylaws of the Board of Regents and the UNL Bylaws.

In accordance with the UNL Bylaws, the Academic Planning Committee adopted this document on November 11, 1992. It was approved by the Academic Senate on December 8, 1992 and approved by the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska on February 3, 1993. The Academic Planning Committee promulgated this document on February 10, 1993.

The premise of these procedures asserts that budget reallocations and reductions are most rationally, efficiently, and equitably accomplished as aspects of a dynamic and ongoing strategic and budgetary planning process. Therefore, the process detailed in this document should be built on a UNL strategic plan that includes institutional goals and a vision for the future. It is also assumed that the biennial budget-making process relates the needs and priorities of the university to its resources.

These procedures provide opportunities for discussion, consultation and negotiation among participants. The participants include students, staff, faculty, department chairs and heads, unit directors, college deans, vice chancellors and the chancellor.

This document reaffirms the role of the Academic Planning Committee in reviewing and proposing the change or elimination of programs, as outlined in University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bylaws, Section I.9.8.2-A through G. This role of the APC can best be achieved by regular and open communication and interaction with the chancellor on the full range of academic matters before the university, irrespective of any specific budget reallocation/reduction episode.

The process and procedures set forth draw upon the wisdom gained from a review of relevant budget reallocation and reduction documents and the lessons learned from previous budget reallocation/reduction episodes. Therefore, the process that follows was developed to maximize the likelihood of achieving an appropriate result by emphasizing the following: the need for open communication; the need for ongoing consultation among unit administrators, faculty, students and staff; the desirability for confidentiality during exploratory considerations; the need for common understandable data and information about programs; the need for time for discussion and negotiation among the various participants in the process; and the need to protect the safeguards contained in the Bylaws of the Board of Regents and the Bylaws of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with respect to faculty tenure and due process considerations.


Essential to a quality university is recognition of the importance of the faculty voice in matters of academic decision making and long-range planning. These procedures are designed to reflect that recognition; they represent sound academic practice consistent with standards set by the AAUP and other professional organizations. Rumors and misinformation can be a deterrent to productivity. A well-conceived and generally accepted budget planning procedure involves faculty, staff and student consultation and keeps rumors and misinformation to a minimum.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's budget planning process involves judgments about the quality of programs. Both administrators and faculty must weigh subjective as well as objective factors in setting priorities and selecting programs that will be affected. Resulting decisions must be made within the budget reallocation and reduction process described herein.


These procedures shall be invoked by the chancellor when the chancellor, in consultation with the Cabinet and the Academic Senate Executive Committee has determined that a) significant internally or externally driven budget shortfalls have occurred or are imminent, or b) significant budget reallocations are contemplated. Reallocation severe enough to eliminate a program (as defined in this document) triggers these procedures.

A three-phase budget reallocation and reduction process is outlined in segments B, C, and D. Principles to be followed during the process are listed in segment A.

Nothing in this document is intended to supersede policies and by-laws approved by the Board of Regents relating to the declaration of financial exigency.


  1. Personnel

    a. The process will ensure that faculty tenure rights are protected in accordance with the governing laws of the university and state. Participants in the process must be sensitive to the relevant guidelines of the American Association of University Professors.

    b. It is recognized that extension agents and state foresters within the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources are not protected by tenure. These employees are faculty. Their value and programs will be protected in accordance with the governing laws and personnel policies of the university and state.

    c. The process shall ensure that the rights of non-tenured faculty and non-academic staff are protected in accordance with the governing laws and personnel policies of the university and state.

  2. Information

Information used in the reallocation and reduction process must be made available to the budget planning participants and affected programs in a timely manner so that corrections and explanations can be made before it is released to the public.

  3. Consultation

The process shall ensure that administrators, faculty, students and staff are consulted. Deans, directors2 chairs and heads shall follow appropriate procedures as stipulated in their college and unit bylaws. Such consultation is intended to give administrators, students, staff and legally constituted bodies of the faculty an opportunity for substantive interactions that go beyond simply sharing information. One of the keys to the success of this process will be the manner with which the information considered at various stages is handled. In the early stages, it will be critical that those individuals responsible for developing budget reduction/reallocation proposals have an opportunity for candid discussions regarding the wide range of options open to them. Such candor is likely to occur only if participants are assured that the discussions will remain confidential. As the process moves forward and proposals are developed, it is essential that the scope of these working discussions expand to include units potentially affected by the proposals prior to public release. In the three-phase process that is described in this document, proposals will be made public at the end of Phase Two.

  4. Inter-Program and Inter-College Relationships

Inter-program and inter-college relationships must be considered during proposed budget reallocation, reduction and planning.

  5. Implementation timetable for budget reallocations and reductions

The implementation timetable for each reallocation or reduction proposal shall be indicated. The impact of budget reallocations or reductions on students and/or clientele must be carefully considered.

  6. Alternatives

The first and second phases of the process should allow deans and directors the opportunity to propose alternatives while considering reallocation and reduction strategies.

Preface | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | General Issues | General Guidelines | Criteria | Amendment | Appendix