Thursday, December 17, 2020

F&A Revenue Change Update and FAQ 

December 17, 2020 | Office of the Dean 

Meetings have taken place over the fall semester with the University of Iowa administration including the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President for Research, as well as the College of Engineering Office of the Dean and Center Directors to establish a framework for the centrally mandated F&A realignment along with the attendant budgetary and operational matters for the College of Engineering with respect to IIHR, ITI, and NADS. There is college and university-wide interest in ensuring that the research mission of these CoE centers can continue to forward the mission of the college and university as well as to have a national and global impact.  

Below are responses to some of the key questions we have received, and we will continue to add to this list as we move forward through this process. 

How will F&A returns be distributed? 

Beginning 1/1/2021, the F&A distribution will be aligned with university standards and collegiate practice. F&A returns will go to the College of Engineering and will be used to advance our strategic plan goals and to further the mission of the college. The college will also receive bridge funding from the university administration for at least five years. This will provide ample time to make the transition in ways that are consistent with the vision, strategic plan, and values for the future of the college. 

How will the budgets for IIHR, ITI, and NADS be determined? 

Through the review of center operations and budgets, expense categories appropriate for the center, college, and university were determined. Budget projections for these categories will be determined, reviewed and reconciled, and finalized for the upcoming FY (or portion thereof in the case of FY21 Q3 and Q4).  

A collaborative process will involve the CoE administration and Center Directors and Budget Officers with support from the Office of the CFO and Treasurer as needed. The Office of the Vice President for Research will help to ensure consistency, effectiveness, and accountability. Two Engineering Administrative Council (EAC) sub-committees will also recommend guidelines on budgets and research center operations. 

How will the centers be organized within the college? 

The Directors of IIHR, ITI, and NADS report to the Dean. As a result of the F&A realignment process, it is clear that NADS has evolved to have a separate financial and leadership structure from CCAD (now ITI). It will be organized as a stand-alone center directly under the CoE, i.e., without being a sub-department or sub-center of ITI. 

How will these changes affect staff in the research centers? Will staff positions be furloughed or cut? 

Through the realignment process, it has become clear to all of those involved that the center staff is highly dedicated and talented. No furloughs are planned as a part of the current F&A realignment, and the college budget for this FY has been secured. In some areas where additional support at the college level is needed, the center's personnel may be asked to provide their excellent support beyond the unit. In other areas, it will take time to understand the needed staffing levels as we outline new priorities. We will focus on using the staff that we currently have in new ways versus recruiting new staff in the short term. The bridge funding from the university administration will provide ample time to make changes thoughtfully and consistent with our strategic plan. 

How can our leaders, faculty, and staff help to support the F&A realignment transition? 

This is an opportunity for the Center Directors, Managers, PIs, DEOs, and staff to work with the Dean to ensure that we are looking across the board at ways to effectively leverage our collective talents. In the spring, a set of “shop meetings” will be held with centers and departments with change management support from Organizational Effectiveness. Building connections and collaborations across centers, departments, and engineering administration will help create operational excellence and job security. Faculty and staff input will be critical in helping to set research priorities. It will also be critical for understanding skill sets, goals, and interests to help with operational processes to meet the desired outcomes. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on care for our college community while we also enhance the strength and stability of the college.