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College Begins Strategic Budget Reduction and Investment Process

President Kim’s open presentation on “Dartmouth’s Financials” is December 1

Dartmouth is embarking on a strategic budget reduction and investment process to address a structural imbalance in the College’s budget. All members of the Dartmouth community are invited to a presentation by President Jim Yong Kim on “Dartmouth’s Financials” on Tuesday, December 1, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in the Hopkins Center’s Alumni Hall. A question and answer period will follow with President Kim; Carol Folt, acting provost and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and Steven Kadish, senior vice president and strategic advisor. The event will be simulcast in Collis Common Ground and online.

As announced by President Kim in a November 7 message to the community, the College ended fiscal year 2009 with a budget gap of $34 million, caused primarily by financial losses on investments. To prevent that gap from widening and to position Dartmouth for strategic growth, the Board of Trustees has set a target of $50 million in expense reductions or new revenues for fiscal year 2011 and an additional $50 million for fiscal year 2012. The process will be collaborative and involve every division and department at Dartmouth.

“These numbers entail serious downsizing. With FY 2011 just seven months away, our planning efforts will be intensive and fast-paced,” said Folt and Kadish, who are helping lead the budget process, in a November 18 letter to the community. “We will not do across-the-board cuts. Our goal is to make sure that Dartmouth continues to excel at accomplishing its mission and invest to achieve our vision for global leadership in higher education for decades to come.”

President Kim has identified protecting the “Dartmouth Experience” for students as a priority. The Student Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) and other student groups are participating and providing input on the process.

Frances Vernon ’10, student body president and a member of the SBAC, says that, “We will work with administrators and the student body to facilitate a transparent process and to incorporate student feedback wherever possible. I hope that students will feel empowered to speak up, ask tough questions, and develop novel suggestions.”

Folt and Kadish have affirmed their commitment to frequent communication. Visit the budget communications website to stay current on budget updates, ask questions, and make suggestions. Since early November, more than 200 suggestions have already been submitted.

The site includes a Frequently Asked Questions section; excerpts are below.

Will there be more layoffs in fiscal 2010? If so, how many?

In order to address Dartmouth’s immediate and pressing financial challenges, the administration will look to reduce our expenses thoughtfully and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our administrative operations.

While no decisions have been finalized, this process will unavoidably result in a smaller workforce at Dartmouth.

The administration will pursue every possible alternative and treat affected employees with respect and dignity.

Is it true a higher number of lower-paid workers’ jobs were eliminated as a result of the budget reductions that the College announced in February 2009?

No. In February 2009, the College announced 60 layoffs as part of its budget reconciliation plan. In that round of reductions people at every level were affected, but more salaried workers were laid off than were hourly workers. Managerial and professional positions were eliminated in areas such as procurement, computing, human resources, development, and real estate. Dartmouth provided a financial package that included cash and financial support toward health-care benefits to all employees whose positions were eliminated.

Twenty-four of the 60 employees whose positions were eliminated in February 2009 were subsequently rehired into other open positions through a process in which hiring preference was given to internal applicants.

In May 2009, Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) announced 12 layoffs, as well as a reduction in hours for another 40 employees. Four of the 12 DMS employees whose positions were eliminated were subsequently rehired into other positions at Dartmouth.

We made a good faith effort to reorganize one year ago, and we are now extremely lean. What more can we do?

We recognize that it will not be possible to continue Dartmouth’s current level of services and activities with fewer employees. This will be a difficult process, but we need to continually examine what services are core to our mission, as we reconcile our expenses with our revenues.

How do I submit a suggestion? Can I do so anonymously?

Suggestions to help us with the strategic budget reduction and investment process are always welcome, and can be made in several ways:

  • Discuss ideas with your supervisor.
  • Submit ideas online (submissions may be made anonymously).
  • Ask a question at President Kim’s “Dartmouth’s Financials” presentation on Tuesday, December 1, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in the Hopkins Center, Alumni Hall.

Timeline for Dartmouth’s Strategic Budget Reduction and Investment Process

Phase 1: December 2009 to the February Board of Trustees Meeting
Getting started and developing preliminary proposals

Phase 2: February to the April Board Meeting
Finalizing proposals and beginning implementation

Phase 3: April to the September Board Meeting
Implement major savings initiatives; begin new revenue measures and key investments

Phase 4: September to the November 2010 Board Meeting
Assessment, evaluation, and adjustment

Last Updated: 1/7/10