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Letter to the Dartmouth Community from Provost Barry Scherr

Posted 01/28/03

The Dartmouth Budget: Updates and Information

As promised in the fall term, I am writing to provide you with additional information regarding the 2004 budget and our need to reduce expenses. Since mid-October, the Budget Committee and senior officers have reviewed proposals for budget reductions from department heads in nearly every area of the College. We have consulted with or heard from many students, faculty, and staff, and I would like to thank them for their thoughtful suggestions. The current budget plans reflect these discussions. Over the next month or so, Adam Keller, the Acting Vice President and Treasurer, and I will continue to meet with these groups to discuss the FY '04 budget and to receive further comments. We will finalize the budget for Trustee approval in late spring.

While the budget savings will be achieved in various ways across campus, chairs and directors looked for savings that would have the least impact on teaching and learning, both in and out of the classroom, and on other priority needs in their areas. We have protected the financial aid budget, tenure-track faculty positions, and competitive faculty and staff compensation. All areas reduced non-compensation office expenses such as supplies, travel and entertainment, and professional development. Reorganization of operations will occur in some areas including the libraries, where the services of the satellite libraries will change, and research computing, which is still under discussion. I have summarized these budget strategies in "Summary of Changes to the College-Only FY '04 Budget."

I indicated in an earlier communication that to balance the budget, we might need to lay off as many as 30 employees. I am very pleased that we have not had to do this so far. Instead, we have eliminated approximately 50 positions through attrition and reorganization. We still need to reduce expenses in several areas to fully realize our budget goal, and we will need to eliminate additional positions. Nonetheless, because of the success we have had so far and our interest in avoiding layoffs, the President has urged us to continue with the current process. We will look aggressively for further attrition and will encourage thoughtful and focused reorganization plans. We remain committed to try to find other positions for employees who may be affected by these changes. I am very grateful to all of the people who have helped and continue to help in this process.

It is still too early to predict with certainty how the budget will look for FY '05 and beyond. But the three consecutive years of disappointing endowment performance will have an impact on the budget for some time to come. Therefore, it will be important for all areas to continue to think about savings that can be obtained through additional cost-saving measures. Resources for new initiatives other than those that are part of the strategic plan will have to come through internal reallocation and efficiencies rather than through reliance on the central budget. We must organize our activities in as efficient a manner as possible while maintaining the very high quality of our educational program.

In closing, I want to thank all employees for their patience and support during this year. This has been a challenging time, but Dartmouth is strong fiscally, and we will move forward with our key priorities. Dartmouth will continue to attract the best students and faculty, provide need blind admissions, offer competitive compensation packages, and provide vibrant academic and co-curricular programs.

Back to The Dartmouth Budget

For More Information

Summary of Changes to the College-Only FY '04 Budget
Revenue and Expense Issues (PDF, 116k)