Colleges ‘Unleash the Deans’ With Decentralized Budgets

February 11, 2015 / Phil Lesch

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 9th, 2015

For many years at the University of Oregon, Brad Foley got a lump of money dropped in his lap to run the School of Music and Dance. It didn’t matter how many courses he offered, how big or how small they were, says Mr. Foley, who has been the school’s dean since 2002. "You seemed to get the same budget year in and year out."

Then, about six years ago, the university’s budgeting system changed radically. Mr. Foley started getting a sum commensurate with the number of students in his school and how many made it to graduation. If he thought carefully about the demand for courses, adjusted offerings so enrollments grew, and trimmed costs, the school got to keep some of the money at the end of the year.

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