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Questions-Brent Smith


How are budgeting concerns negotiated with all of the stakeholders at USF?


  1. Who are all of the stakeholders at USF that determine fiduciary budgets?


  1. How do these stakeholders enact budgetary constraints and personal value systems?


  1. What’s the hardest aspect of your job?

How is the Dean’s Office split into smaller, distinguishable sub-offices? Do the responsibilities or missions of these sub-offices overlap?


How is the Office of Business Services split into teams and positions?

During meetings, who comes together? Does it depend on the content? If so, how does content determine who meets?

Who decides how finances are allocated within the College of Arts and Sciences?

How can graduate students become more involved with the process? Is there a way to make it more transparent?

Do you see ways that the budget creates diversity? Is diversity talked about in budgetary planning meetings? If so, what does that look like? Is it productive in the sense that actionable items are created and acted upon, or is it more of an act of acknowledging the need for diversity?

What has been the phasing in of the new budget implementation software, Axion like? I’m curious as to how the use of this technology helps or hinders productivity, working with such a collaborative and streamlined tool across the university.

How do hierarchies and institutional structures come into play in your role or the roles of others on your team? As a practitioner, how do you take organizational vs. individual considerations into account?

I see that you’re on the “end-users” team according to the Resource Management and Analysis website. What do “end-users” do exactly? What is your role as a team vs. your role as an individual?

What types of stipulations, requirements, or categories does the budget dictate as it filters down through different stakeholders (i.e. from state to institution to particular programs)? I know often that these categories can be quite restrictive because a certain set of monies can only be used for technology, staffing, or new buildings. Are there any workarounds to these requirements?

What types of programs, benefits, or incentives currently exist to foster diversity in hiring and retention practices? Are they the same across the university, or does each program control them? Do you think any of these approaches have room for improvement?

What factors are most important in understanding the discrepancies between the funding of higher education between states, institutions, and programs? How would you recommend in making it more equitable?

How do you perceive your office’s position within the college/university? There is a common conception that the financial/budget office makes many decisions and dictates the actions of others within the college/university; do you agree with that evaluation and is this spoken of within your office?


How often do you coordinate with the financial/budget offices from the other colleges within the university?

What is the decision-making process for allocation of funds for existing programs and resources?

What is the decision-making process for new programs/resources? How is this different in comparison with existing programs/resources?

How are decisions made relating to prioritization of funds within CAS? Who has a role in making those decisions and what is the role of each person involved?

What kinds of external factors influence decisions made within CAS about budgeting? What is the most important external factor?

What internal factors influence decisions about budgeting? Which ones have the greatest influence on decisions?

In what ways does the CAS budget vary year to year?

Which disciplines/departments within CAS have seen the most budgetary growth and why?

Which disciplines/departments within CAS have seen the smallest budgetary growth?

So I would like to know how they plan for new graduate students. Is there a number of spots? Do they consider the number of classes TAs would teach and admit a certain number of students?

How do they plan for professor positions?

Also, I remember that last year there was a general hierarchy circulating through the campus that talked about the amount of money each department makes. The Department of English was last on the list. How much that and the rhetorical construction of USF as a “STEM university” count for our financing?

How are financial/budget decisions made? How do you decide which programs should be given budgets and the amount? 

How are funds allocated throughout the College of Arts and Sciences? Throughout the English department?

How are these funds prioritized? Is it something that is decided based on requests from each department, or is it determined through a committee within CAS?

When hiring new faculty, is it the discretion of the specific department how many they can hire, or does the college overall have a say?

Is there a system of checks and balances when determining/allocating funds to each department? Is it the work of one person? How does it work?

How many other people have input into the budget? Who?

How does our college (College of Arts and Sciences) compare with others within the university? Is it parceled out the same, or are there other factors that influence it that may not be included within the CAS?

How will reconsolidation impact the CAS budget office? Will there be a single entity responsible for controlling and distributing funds for all 3 campuses, or will each campus have funds to use at their discretion? Or is it too soon to know these things?

How does a college like the Arts and Sciences, with so many diverse and distinct areas of study allocate funds? Are they based on number of students in each course area, or are they need based (i.e. science labs require more funding than humanities courses, etc.?)

When national and/or state mandates change, how does that impact budgeting decisions at the university, and more specifically, the college level?



As the Director of Business Services, how do you separate the necessary ideologies of business from what education is representative of? Meaning: Funds are obviously allocated differently for different departments and money must be made in order for the University to function, but how would you describe this process to students (especially graduate students) who are providing labor in a department they believe in and are passionate about, yet feel as though the department deserves more funding?

From a business perspective, do you have any influence over regulating the diversity and inclusiveness of course offerings and/or course content within the institution?

Progression and change are important and highly valued, but so are some elements of tradition. Since we know that no two educational institutions are the same, how are you responsible, if at all, for ensuring USF does not mirror another institution to attract new applicants, while maintaining an image of consistency within the world of academia? (recent example: the need to respond to concerns about on-campus housing)

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