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Focusing on Our Future Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In 2013-2014, Pacific will review academic programs and administrative units to become a more focused, effective and efficient University. The review process, Focusing on Our Future, will also help to identify funds that can be reallocated into a Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). The SIF will help Pacific enhance current programs, activities and services as well as launch new initatives aligned with the Pacific 2020 strategic plan.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Why are we going through this process?

We are committed to enhancing the education University of the Pacific provides and ensuring that it is a good value for our students. That means we must invest in strengthening our education while keeping tuition increases low and using every tuition dollar wisely. The review process will help us focus on what we do best and operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. It will also help us invest in our areas of strength that are aligned with our future, as identified in the Pacific 2020 strategic plan.

Our vision is that University of the Pacific will become known as one of the best teaching-focused universities in California - the first choice for students who want excellent programs, close working relationships with faculty, a challenging and supportive learning environment, and an exciting future after graduation. We will serve the changing needs of our students, their families, and our region by evolving as an institution in ways that honor our 162-year tradition of strong liberal arts programs, high quality professional programs, and whole-student learning.

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What is the process timeline?

Administrative Unit Review Timeline
This timeline applies to:

  • all administrative units not housed within the schools or College
  • select three-city units at the Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco campuses (see Program List)
2013
May 28: Institutional Research begins compiling data for administrative units as available
June 3: Units begin to prepare administrative review reports
August 16: Administrative review reports due
August 30: Provost and Vice Presidents announce recommendations. Provost and Vice Presidents begin holding Open Divisional Meetings for input (Sept. 3-6)
Sept. 16: Provost and Vice Presidents adjust recommendations as appropriate; reports and recommendations go to "PAC+" (see Appendix B) for review
Sept. 20: PAC+ makes their recommendations and forwards all to President.
Sept. 23-27: President seeks University input
By Oct. 11: President announces administrative decisions to University community by this date

Academic Review Timeline
This timeline applies to:

  • academic programs (see Program List)
  • administrative units within the schools and College (with the exception of 3-city units in the law and dental schools)
2013
July-Sept. 1 Institutional Research prepares data for academic programs
Sept-Dec. Training for School-based Evaluation Teams
Dec. 20: Academic Review reports due to deans for initial review
Jan. 13: Final reports due to school-based rating teams

TBD:

TBD:

School-based rating teams release academic reports and scores to CART.

CART completes validation of scoring and sends results to deans; releases reports and scores.

2014
Jan: Deans begin to draft school/College strategic plans, seeking iterative input from stakeholders on strategic vision, future of current academic programs, and future of current school-based administrative activities and services
Feb. 21: School/College strategic plans, including deans' recommendations for current academic programs and school-based administrative activities and services, go to Provost
Mar. 21: Provost's recommendations on academic strategic plans go to Leadership Review Team (Cabinet + Deans); Provost's recommendations on school/College administrative changes go to PAC+
Apr. 4: Leadership Review Team sends recommendations to President
April 7-18: President seeks University input 
May 1: President announces final decisions on current programs, activities and services to the University community; releases final report

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How much money do we plan to reallocate, and where did that number come from?

The President has determined that reallocating about $15 million from the University's unrestricted base budget (e.g. the total budget minus the portion of the budget with restricted uses such as grants, clinics, and donor-specified uses) will provide a fund that will allow Pacific to make progress on strategic initiatives. A $15 million base add will be substantial enough to fund significant initiatives and change, but not so large as to disrupt the fundamental operations of the University. $2 million in base budget has already been identified for the Strategic Investment Fund, bringing the total the divisions will contribute to $13 million. We will not know the specific uses of this fund until FY 2015, when strategic initiatives aligned with Pacific 2020 have been proposed by units within the University.

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Why can't we wait to go through reallocations until we know what strategic investments we want to make and what they will cost?

While some units have already proposed strategic investments (e.g. Academic Affairs has proposed Food Studies and Music Therapy programs in San Francisco, a Master of Science in Law program in Sacramento, and a Physician's Assistant program), the majority of proposals will be developed over the next year. Proposals will then be evaluated through a strategic investment decision process to be developed in the coming months.

We must plan our strategic investments and identify our reallocation dollars simultaneously. If we wait for strategic initiatives to be proposed, vetted, and budgeted, and only then identify where the funds will come from, we will not be able to take any real actions on programs for two years. Opportunities for colleges and universities in our region are being snapped up too quickly to wait this long.

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Will I be able to finish my degree?

Pacific is committed to its students, the degrees it has offered to students, and to providing a superior education for its students. Regardless of how the review and reallocation process affects individual programs, all students currently enrolled in a major will be able to finish their degree in that major. This is one reason the reallocations are phased-in over a period of several years.

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Do reallocations mean that my son/daughter is getting less education for the money?

Quite the contrary. We will be expanding offerings in high demand areas by making investments in those areas. Moreover, by being as efficient as possible, we will deliver more education for your tuition dollars, while keeping annual tuition increases modest. Our main goal is to ensure that your student is getting the best education for the best value.

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Will financial aid be affected?

The University's financial aid policy and practice will not be influenced by the review and reallocation effort.

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How will we decide what reallocations to make?

The President and Cabinet have collaborated with the University community to create a process that evaluates activities according to objective criteria, empowers local units, and elicits University input throughout. The process will run from summer 2013-summer 2014. President Eibeck thanks everyone who participated in the Focusing on Our Future planning process, including every school and the College, many administrative divisions, Academic Council, the Staff Advisory Council, ASUop, the Strategic Planning Committee, the Institutional Priorities Committee, the Council of Deans, the President's Advisory Council, and dozens of individual faculty and staff members and students who submitted feedback online.

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I already feel like my office is running with minimal staff. How can we give our students the "Pacific experience" if we are cut further?

This is why we are asking the divisions to make the recommendations on reallocation decisions rather than doing an "across the board" reduction.  Depending on the essential nature of an office or a program, contributions to the Strategic Investment Fund may or may not be expected.  We are counting on department heads, directors and divisional leaders to make informed, and sometimes hard, decisions about what functions should continue as is, become more efficient, have more investment to improve, or be eliminated.

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Will Athletics have to contribute to the Strategic Investment Fund? Will Pacific consider moving to Division III to save money?

Intercollegiate Athletics is expected to contribute its share to the Strategic Investment Fund, as all divisions are.

Pacific will not consider moving to Division III athletics. There are too many advantages that come to the University as a result of our DI program, particularly now that Pacific is joining the West Coast Conference. Our media visibility in key west coast recruiting markets will be much higher as a result of WCC media coverage. Moreover, being affiliated with the WCC schools will increase our reputation for academics and athletics of the greatest quality and integrity.  A visible athletics program will also deepen alumni ties to their alma mater and enhance the spirit and pride that our students and our community members feel for our University.  Finally, the Regents would not consider a shift to Division III athletics at this time.

While Division I non-football athletic programs are costly, as they lack the revenues from football bowl conferences, we have benchmarked our Athletics program costs (both net dollar contribution to Athletics and net dollar contribution to Athletics as a percent of total University expenses) to other DI non-football programs in the West Coast Conference and found that our expenditures are actually lower.  There are no plans to increase future University contributions to the Athletics budget, except for any University-wide merit and benefit increases to personnel paid from University funds.  The President will hold Pacific Athletics accountable for increasing their external fund raising.

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Have Cabinet and the President already decided what reallocations they want to make?

No specific academic programs or administrative activities/services have been identified for enhancement, reduction, reorganization or elimination. The University community will follow a thoughtful and collaborative process in 2013-2014 to reach these decisions. (See "Focusing on Our Future" here.)

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What if we wind up not needing the entire fund? Will the units get their money back?

The bold plans in Pacific 2020 will clearly cost more than $15 million. We will need to prioritize the items in the strategic plan to decide where to begin. Over the years, we can begin to implement other items in the plan as new revenue streams and fundraising allow.

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Can we use the Powell gift to pay for strategic investments?

Robert and Jeannette Powell's generous estate gift was given with specific intentions. The Powells indicated that it should be used primarily to increase talented students' access to Pacific in the form of scholarships (other uses that they approved for specific amounts will be announced once the gift has been received). The gift will predominantly be invested in our endowment and will primarily be used to support scholarships.

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Can't we just fundraise for $15 million?

The $15 million Strategic Investment Fund is not a one-time pool we can fundraise for. It is a "base add" to the University's budget. This means that the line item will appear year after year. (To illustrate: If some small fraction of the $15 million were used to fund a new employee position, for example, the employee would need to be paid every year, not just once.) Moreover, in order to raise enough endowment to fund $15 million/year in new operating budget, we would need to raise more than $350 million.  Another thing to keep in mind is that as we look at donor motivation to fund university initiatives, the dominant area of interest is in student financial aid.  It is critical that any fundraising programs are consistent with demonstrated donor motivation.

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When will we launch a new fundraising campaign?

University Development is working quickly on plans for a new campaign to begin in about a year. The campaign will focus on building our endowment (in order to fund student financial aid, program and faculty support), and some limited capital projects. More details will be available in the fall.  It is anticipated that we will launch a mini-campaign focusing on the Powell Match as soon as the gift is received by the University.  Pacific's development efforts are on an upswing.  As this source of revenue continues to increase it will play an ever-increasing role in helping to fund our future.

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How can I communicate with University leadership about review and reallocations?

President Eibeck pledges to communicate openly and often to the broad University community throughout the reallocation process. She will give frequent updates in the Pacific Insider, the University's e-newsletter for faculty and staff, which comes out on Mondays. The following fall 2013 in-person events have also been scheduled:

Open Feedback Sessions (all are welcome):

  • Business and Finance Recommendations, Sept. 3, 11 am-12 pm, DeRosa University Center Ballroom
  • Student Life/External Relations/Athletics Recommendations, Sept. 3, 12-1:30 pm, DeRosa University Center Ballroom
  • Academic Affairs Recommendations, Sept. 4, 9:30-10:30 am, DeRosa University Center Ballroom
  • Development/President's Division Recommendations, Sept. 4, 10:30 am - 12 pm, DeRosa University Center Ballroom

President Eibeck's Welcome Back Townhall: Thursday, August 29, 12-1:30 pm in Grace Covell Hall (will be webcast)

Fall Open Student Office Hours: Sept. 3, Oct. 15, Nov. 19: 4:30-6 pm in the President's Office in Anderson Hall.

The President has added an anonymous feedback form for comments on the Focusing on Our Future process. She can always be reached at president@pacific.edu.

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Who is on the Institutional Priorities Committee?

The IPC is the primary planning and budgeting group of the University. It comprises faculty, staff, students and administrators from all three campuses. More details can be found here.

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Will the liberal arts continue to be an important part of a Pacific education?

Absolutely. Pacific 2020 clearly embraces the liberal arts as part of the University's core and an essential part of a college education. While Pacific plans to build on its reputation in health, it will keep and celebrate its commitment to the liberal arts and to other professional programs.

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Will we keep our commitment to whole student learning?

Yes, without question. The hallmark of a Pacific education is that all aspects of a student's development are nurtured and educated, including their ethical, social, spiritual and emotional development.  This has been part of Pacific's mission since Methodist ministers founded the University in 1851, and it will remain part of our mission even in this time of change.

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Will we eliminate programs?

Academic programs and administrative activities/services will be reviewed for quality and relevance to Pacific's mission and strategic vision and our students' success. It is likely that some programs, activities and/or services will be reduced, reorganized or eliminated in order to increase effectiveness and efficiency.

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Will we eliminate jobs?

It is likely that positions will be affected that are either 1) associated with programs being reduced or eliminated, or 2) in areas where Pacific is creating greater administrative efficiency. The University is committed to a well communicated, transparent and compassionate process for identifying personnel changes and supporting our people as strongly as possible. More information will be released in fall 2013.

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Will the University offer incentives?

No specific plans are in place at this time. Information will be released in fall 2013.

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What happens next?

The Focusing on Our Future process began this summer for most administrative units and will begin in early September for academic programs. Administrative self studies were turned in Aug. 16; Vice Presidents' preliminary administrative recommendations will be released on August 30 at http://www2.pacific.edu/foot/administrative.html. Vice Presidents will gather University feedback on Sept. 3, 4 and 6. They will deliver final administrative recommendations to the PAC+ holistic review committee on Sept. 9. PAC+ will deliberate and issue their recommendations to the President on Sept. 20. From Sept. 23-27, the President will gather University feedback. She will announce her final decisions on administrative programs during the week of October 7.

Qualitative/quantitative academic reviews analyzing the effectiveness and impact of academic programs (and select centers, institutes and clinics), according to specific criteria, will begin in fall 2013. Final reports are due Jan. 13, 2014. School-based administrative units will also follow the academic timeline. Institutional Research will provide data to administrative units as available (budget, headcount, etc.). They will also consult with administrative units on how they might proceed to obtain other elements. For academic units, IR will provide relevant data to each program as outlined in the Academic Review Rubric that is part of the Focusing on Our Future process.

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Will departments slated for program review next year have to do two separate review processes?

The  University's program review schedule will be put on hold for 2013-2014 so that all units can concentrate on the Focusing on our Future process. Program review will be pushed back one year; programs that were slated to go through program review in 2013-2014 will move to 2014-2015. (At the Provost's or relevant Vice President's discretion, some administrative units may complete ongoing reviews in the 2013-14 academic year.) Please also note that the Focusing on our Future reports will replace units' annual reports for 2013-14.

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Where can I access the Focusing on Our Future review process?

The Focusing on Our Future process can be found here, as well as on the Focusing on Our Future tab within insidePacific.

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Where can I learn more about higher education reallocations?

Robert C. Dickeson's Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services: Reallocating Resources to Achieve Strategic Balance (John Wiley & Sons, 2010) is an excellent and approachable guide to reallocating resources in tough times. Two copies are currently on reserve in the University Library on the Stockton campus; an e-book is available through Pacificat. While this approach has informed University of the Pacific's reallocation process, Pacific's process has been customized by the Institutional Priorities Committee (IPC), the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), and feedback from University stakeholders.

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