University of Idaho - I Banner

Presidential Memos

Memos and other communications from University of Idaho President C. Scott Green and his leadership team are sent periodically to the university community.

U of I Budget and Financial Planning Update of Oct. 30, 2019

President C. Scott Green discusses the university’s budget situation.

TO:  University of Idaho Faculty, Staff and Students
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Feb. 25, 2020
SUBJECT:  Budget Reduction Efforts Progressing 

Many pieces of our budget-reduction plan are in play as we continue through the spring semester. I have visited with several colleges and units and met with staff and faculty to review the initiatives and provide up-to-date information on the status of each. I know this is a lot of information, but my goal of transparency throughout this process requires it. We will also post this on my webpage for your reference at any time. The hard work continues to be done with three primary goals in mind:

  1. Balance revenue and expenses;
  2. Rebuild and maintain adequate reserve funds;
  3. Maintain and build on an exceptional student experience.

In the meantime, some of the decisions are approaching important deadlines and the results will help as we reset and prepare to move beyond the budget challenge. I appreciate your patience, will continue to review feedback and take into account the constructive input from the university community.

Early Success

While we are focused on setting the FY21 budget, it is important to recognize the great work done since July 2019. You acted quickly, putting the institution above your own personal agendas, implementing $14 million in difficult spending reductions. The hard work, sacrifice and commitment of many has put us on track to realize those savings. These cuts will not eliminate our deficit, but they will greatly reduce it. They have slowed our cash burn rate, giving us the time to prepare a long-term plan for balancing our revenues and expenses, rebuilding our reserves and identifying new sources of revenue to fund our priorities.

Voluntary Furlough

The Voluntary Furlough idea, which came at the request of our faculty and staff, has proven popular and has brought a certain solidarity as each of us finds a way to contribute to the future of this institution. As of Jan. 25, 5,231 hours of furlough have been realized, totaling $274,253 across all funding sources. As you evaluate your spring calendar, if it is personally viable, please consider helping us meet the remainder of the state-directed holdback. The program is open until the last working day of the fiscal year, Friday, June 26. Visit the furlough tracker ( to find up-to-date information on our progress.

FY21 College and Unit Budgets

All vice presidents, deans and unit leads are working on thoughtful and thorough budget reduction strategies that have the least impact on our students and our ability to deliver on our mission of teaching, research, discovery and service. These proposals are informed by other cost-saving tactics, like retirements and separations as well as program prioritization.

Some non-academic units have submitted budget proposals and all academic units continue to work through the process. We should have all proposals in the coming weeks.

Voluntary Separation Plans

We have finalized agreements for the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) and an Optional Retirement Incentive Program (ORIP). Final numbers include:

  • 36 VSIP agreements totaling $2,590,536 in base salary;
  • 76 ORIP agreements totaling $5,855,895 in base salary;
  • 112 total agreements totaling $8,446,431 in base salary.

We will realize fringe savings of $3.1 million in connection with these agreements. Some of these positions will be refilled and we need to fulfill the incentive promises associated with these agreements. Consequently, we will not realize the entirety of the $11.5 million, but a portion of this will be available to address the budget shortfall. While these agreements help on the financial side, we are losing a lot of institutional knowledge in this dedicated group of employees. We wish each person well; please join me in thanking them for their service to our University of Idaho.


The facilities outsourcing committee has reviewed five proposals from outside companies to support custodial, grounds and maintenance operations across campus (Auxiliary Services, Administrative Operations, Facilities Services and custodial staff at the Student Rec Center). The proposals ranged from management only to full outsourcing. The committee considered the concern and input from our community and is only recommending options that allow all U of I employees to remain as such. The committee will make a final recommendation in the coming weeks.

Texas Book Company will begin to manage textbook sales at the VandalStore. We lost $130,000 managing our textbook sales last year. Texas Book Company will pay us at least $160,000 annually (or 11% of textbook sales, whichever is greater). They have buying power that should have positive results. This is a nearly $300,000 enhancement to our bottom line, which will improve the university’s financial position. All other functions of the VandalStore will remain unchanged.

Public/Private Partnership (P3)

I talk about Public/Private Partnerships at every opportunity. Again, this should not be confused with outsourcing. This is a financial engineering tool that allows an entity, like our steam plant, to be leased long term to an outside company. The full lease payment (often a more than 30-year agreement) is paid up front. While we will need to maintain the cash for annual purchase of steam, the remaining money would be invested in the priorities of the university.

We continue to work through this process and a recommendation will be finalized later this spring.

State Insurance Versus Self-Insurance

After thorough analysis, our university health benefits will remain self-insured, for now. While looking for cost savings by moving to the state’s insurance plan, our review indicated that the move would ultimately cost the university as much as $5 million more. This is due to how the state treats employees who waive medical coverage. (The state still requires payment into the system for these employees.)

Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB)

Changes in accounting standards regarding how retiree benefits are reported diminished the university’s net position by over $30 million in FY18. An OPEB advisory group proposed ways to meet ( our State Board of Education reserve requirements while still taking into consideration the needs of our employees and retirees.

We have solicited feedback from the leadership of the University of Idaho Retirees Association, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, our Distinguished Professors, as well as the President’s Cabinet, Deans and the Center Executive Officers. Feedback to date has been largely supportive, and the proposal deemed fair given our financial situation. In short, there are no changes to the benefits of those already retired and no changes to pre-Medicare benefits; however, post-Medicare benefits for individuals in Tiers II and III who are not eligible to retire by Jan. 1, 2021, will be phased out over four years. In many cases, Medicare supplement plans are financially superior to the university plan and we expect to provide counselors to help employees pick the best plan for their situation. The sick leave buy-out benefit for Tier IV will also be discontinued for new employees who join the university after June 20, 2020. The benefit will stay in place for existing employees.

These changes will reduce our OPEB liability by approximately $10 million. They alone will not bring our reserves into compliance with State Board of Education requirements but provide a substantial improvement. The next step is to work with the Faculty Senate to update our policies to conform to the new benefit structure. We expect to finalize these policy changes and implement the recommendations shortly.

Sustainable Financial Model Working Group

This first working group has nearly finished providing its feedback on a new financial model. A white paper describing the model will be reviewed by the working group and submitted to our community for comment. This white paper will not address the immediate budget reduction tactics and programs; this group was tasked with recommending an overall financial model that will better fit the long-term financial needs of the university.

Next Steps

I continue to be grateful to the entire Vandal Family for your dedication and selflessness as we move through these challenges. It is not easy. The conversations are hard and the decisions are harder. Keeping the students and our university at the forefront of our decision-making is vital to our success. And, we will need to be kind, empathetic and supportive of each other as we all adjust to the changes.

We will not let these challenges define who we are, as we have much to be optimistic about. The University of Idaho has a tremendous foundation on which to build. We are identifying new revenue sources to invest in strategic areas. We have the brightest students in the state — hard-working Vandals demanded by industry. We conduct world-class research that solves real problems. Together, we will work through our challenges and come out the other side stronger for it.

Thank you again for putting the financial health and strength of the University of Idaho first.

Scott Green

TO:  University of Idaho Faculty and Staff
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Jan. 16, 2020
SUBJECT:  Shared Services and Reporting Lines for IT Support

As I have indicated in my communications last semester, the university is diligently and deliberately exploring a number of strategies to meet our budget challenges. While any and all options are being reviewed for cost savings, we must also weigh the importance of key services and how they are delivered. In my various discussions, shared reporting lines has been a strategy I promote and one that can have long-term financial and service benefits.

Information technology (IT) is critical to almost all operations at the University of Idaho. The university spends more than $15 million in IT position salaries alone. At the suggestion of Vice President for Information Technology Dan Ewart, we will bring a selective and thoughtful sharing of reporting lines led by Information Technology Services and informed by the university community resulting in:

  • Distributed personnel embedded and responsive to the units they support, when beneficial to our institutional goals;
  • Coordinated personnel management, reporting lines and accountability through ITS;
  • Collaborative work prioritization by units, ITS and the IT Governance & Prioritization process driven by institutional priorities and unit needs to accomplish those priorities;
  • Effective utilization of IT personnel resources.

Change is rarely easy and implementing a modified reporting structure is no exception, but I believe this one will offer new opportunities to IT employees across the institution while providing quality IT services for our community. The efficiencies and effectiveness it can provide will better position the university to achieve its goals.

In the coming days, information will be distributed to supervisors and personnel with significant IT-related duties. Other information, including frequently asked questions, status updates and mechanisms by which you can participate in developing the best possible set of recommendations, will be made available on the IT Shared Services website.

We are committed to keeping our institution informed of progress and of opportunities to be part of this process. Email with questions or suggestions.

To be successful, it is critical that you engage in and support this change. Please respond as requested so we can have the most comprehensive understanding and plan going forward. Recommendations for next steps will be completed this semester and an implementation plan in place by June 30.

Thank you in advance for your support of and participation in this process. Each step we take makes us a stronger institution and better able to meet the needs of our students.

Scott Green

TO:  University of Idaho Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM:  Chandra Zenner Ford, Strategic Initiatives, Office of the President
DATE:  Jan. 6, 2020
SUBJECT:  R1/Research Working Group

This semester will mark the beginning of a new working group to discuss R1 and the University of Idaho’s research endeavors. An R1/Research Working Group has been chartered by President Scott Green to propose a plan for the steps needed to achieve this goal. The group is scheduled to meet for the first time at the end of January.

As you know, the working group model is a tool for informed and transparent decision-making on issues where we can benefit from an inclusive process benefiting all U of I stakeholders. We have already convened two working groups, one focused on a sustainable financial model for the university and another on student success.

The 21-member R1/Research Working Group will examine U of I’s steps to R1 status under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The outcome of this working group will be a report of ideas and actionable tasks that together will outline the best path to resource and implement the process to attain R1 status for the university.

Brad Ritts, associate vice president of research, will chair this working group. We want to thank the individuals below for accepting the invitation to serve. Their work is important to our future and supports one of President Green’s top priorities.

Members include:

  • Brad Ritts, Chair, Associate Vice President, Research
  • Lee Ostrom, Center Executive Officer, Idaho Falls
  • Jerry McMurtry, Dean, College of Graduate Studies
  • Cher Hendricks, Vice Provost, Academic Initiatives
  • Ginger Carney, Dean, College of Science
  • Michael Parrella, Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Janet Nelson, Vice President, Research
  • P. Michael Davidson, Institute Chancellor's Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee
  • Amy Lientz, Director, Supply Chain – Energy Industry, Idaho National Laboratory
  • Shirley Luckhart, Faculty, Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology
  • Rich Christensen, Director, Nuclear Engineering
  • Diane Kelly-Riley, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Lisette Waits, Department Head, Fish and Wildlife Sciences
  • Tom Ptak, Faculty, Geography
  • Barrie Robison, Faculty, Biological Sciences
  • Raymond Dixon, Department Chair, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Katherine Himes, Director, McClure Center for Public Policy Research
  • Russell McClanahan, Facility Manager, Integrated Research and Innovation Center
  • Trina Mahoney, Assistant Vice President, University Budget and Planning
  • Connor Hill, Graduate Professional Student Association Chair, Chemical Engineering
  • Jane Lucas, Postdoctoral Associate, Soil and Water Systems

University leadership appreciates the willingness of this group to step up and do the work to address this important initiative.

Chandra Zenner Ford
Office of the President
Strategic Initiatives

TO:  University of Idaho Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Dec. 20, 2019
SUBJECT:  Continued Work on Budget Challenges

Seven weeks ago, I sent out a campuswide communication regarding our budget issues and the approach we are taking to address our operational and reserve deficits. I appreciate the work you have done to help us address these challenges. Despite the understandable anxiety surrounding the budget cuts we must make, we continue our work inside and outside the classroom, putting our students and the university first.

We promised to be as transparent as possible through this process and to communicate thoroughly and often as we develop and implement strategies to address our budget challenges. Sharing more information may cause stress at times but it is important for you to have as much information as possible to make informed choices.

In the time since the first communication went out, we have held open forums, discussed the process with the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and ASUI representatives, held numerous town halls across campus, issued communications regarding voluntary retirement and separation programs and offered a voluntary furlough program (as suggested by our employees). We will continue to meet with our employees and students to discuss both process and progress as well as communicate the status of our efforts. While progress is fluid, below is an update and answers to some of the more recent and recurring questions we have received.

College and Unit Budgets

All vice presidents, deans and unit leads are committed to addressing ways to cut expenses. Each is compiling a plan for meeting the targets assigned to each college and unit. Plans are due in January. I will review each one and expect to approve most proposals as presented because each vice president, dean and unit lead knows the best way to meet the challenges with the least impact on our students.

We will continue to invest in University Advancement, Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM), and University Communications and Marketing (UCM). We cannot increase enrollment, tell our story or encourage private investment in our mission without investing in these areas. Advancement brought $51 million to the university last year, money we need to continue to raise year in and year out. SEM and UCM have raised our profile and are seeing some early success. These teams are critical to improving our top line revenue.

Voluntary Separation Plans

We recently communicated the availability of a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) and an Optional Retirement Incentive Program (ORIP). Dec. 13 was the deadline for notifications of interest in these programs. Ninety-one people have expressed interest in VSIP and 109 in ORIP. This represents more than $14.5 million, but is not necessarily salary savings as some positions will need to be refilled. We also anticipate that not everyone expressing early interest in these programs will move forward with separation from the university.


The first Request for Proposals for outside involvement in some university services is complete. The VandalStore will use Texas Book Company to manage its textbook sales. The buying power of this company should have positive results for the VandalStore and our students. All other functions of the VandalStore will remain unchanged. You can still buy your Vandal gear from our own university staff in the store. We continue to evaluate other outsource options keeping in mind the feedback we have heard from our community about how our cuts should not fall primarily on those most vulnerable.

Capital Projects

This week the Idaho State Board of Education approved the next steps of both CAFE and the Seed Potato Germplasm Facility. Many of you have asked how we can progress with these projects while looking at significant budget cuts at the university. Funding for both projects is a combination of state money and gift dollars. These state and gift funds cannot be reallocated to address our structural deficit. We could choose not to build these facilities, but we would have to return the money and we would still have the same operating deficit.

The ICCU Arena is another capital project which falls into this category. Money to build the arena was raised from private donations and student fees dedicated to the arena project. We are not allowed to redirect those funds for another purpose.

Administrative Concerns

One area we have repeatedly heard questions about is administrative salaries. It is true that administrative numbers have grown slightly over the past few years, primarily due to growth in the associate dean category. Human Resources recently compiled a market-based compensation report that shows executive salaries to be in line with the target salaries for such positions and behind the campus overall average of 96.25% of target (executives are at 94.84% of target).

Next Steps

There are many pieces to the budget puzzle, but the picture is beginning to come into focus. We will know more in the new year and will spend much of the spring semester making decisions about the path forward as outlined by leadership, faculty, staff and the Sustainable Financial Model Working Group.

The conversations we are having are not easy. The decisions are even harder. Keeping the students and our university at the forefront of our decision-making is vital. The choices we make now will set the stage for reinvestment and future success. We will not let the challenges we face define who we are, as we have much to be optimistic about. We are a top 100 public university. We are a U.S. News and World Report best value institution. We are making progress in our enrollment management and outreach programming. Attendance at our recruitment events is increasing. Our FY20 marketing efforts are vibrant and gaining traction with billboards across the state, bus wraps in the Treasure Valley, a new Breakthrough television spot hitting the airwaves and social media, a toolkit to engage our alumni in recruiting, and we have Vandalized over 1,000 classrooms inside and outside our state. Our commitment to our students is as strong as ever. I have said it before and will say it again; the important, impactful work that happens every day on our Moscow campus and at our centers, Extension and research sites across the state matters and makes a difference. We have much to be proud of. Together we will work through this challenge and come out braver and bolder for our efforts.

Thank you again for your continued work as we move through this set of challenges. We wish everyone a restful and joyous holiday season.

Scott Green

TO:  University of Idaho Faculty and Staff
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Nov. 22, 2019
SUBJECT:  Voluntary Employee Separation Programs Offered

As I mentioned in a memo to all of you earlier this week, in addition to voluntary employee furlough, university leadership is offering two more voluntary options for staff and faculty to consider as we work to address our budget challenges.

Those who choose to participate in one of these incentive programs will be contributing toward reducing the $14 million deficit in FY20, and the projected additional $8 million deficit in FY21, for a total $22 million overall budget deficit.

Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP)

VSIP is an option for eligible employees to voluntarily separate from the university. This program is available to employees who have at least 10 years of consecutive service to the university without an already-approved resignation or retirement announcement. Employees who meet the VSIP requirements will receive 33 percent of his or her FY20 budgeted salary (from any source except ARES, FUR, IGS, WWAMI, WIMU-VetMed) in exchange for resignation. ARES includes Hatch, Smith-Lever, Multi-State Research, County Extension and State ARES funding. Employee separation payments would be made after the start of FY21..

Optional Retirement Incentive Program (ORIP)

The ORIP is available to employees who are 55 years of age or older, have worked at least 20 consecutive years for the university and do not have an approved retirement plan, among other criteria. This option pays a retiree 20 percent of his or her FY20 budgeted salary (from any source except ARES, FUR, IGS, WWAMI, WIMU-VetMed) annually for five years. ARES includes Hatch, Smith-Lever, Multi-State Research, County Extension and State ARES funding. Employee separation payments would be made after the start of FY21.

How to Apply

Both programs have specific criteria, eligibility and timelines. Applications for consideration for VSIP and ORIP are due Dec. 13, 2019, with the last day of work no later than June 26, 2020. An application is neither approval from the university to participate nor a commitment on behalf of the employee. An application begins the review process and is followed with a potential offer and a 45-day employee review period for the employee to consider the offer.

As you consider either of these options and assess whether they are right for you, we continue to work on other cost-saving strategies, including program prioritization on the academic side of the university, as well as budget reduction measures in our non-academic units.

There is no expectation or pressure that employees apply for these programs, but it is important to provide options for those of you who decide voluntary separation or retirement makes sense. We appreciate your hard work and leadership as we continue to unite in our purpose — bringing our expenses in line with our revenue and creating a sustainable financial model that will carry our great university well into the future.

If you have questions about this, please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at 208-885-3638.

Scott Green

TO:  University of Idaho Faculty and Staff
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Nov. 20, 2019
SUBJECT:  State Budget Reset and Voluntary Employee Furlough

We recently learned that Gov. Brad Little has asked all state agencies to reduce their budgets by 1% in FY20 and 2% in FY21. These reductions are intended to reset state spending and are not in response to a state budget shortfall. The revenue the state raises for this purpose will remain in the state’s reserves. We have communicated to the governor’s staff that we have already made $14 million in budget cuts, but the University of Idaho must nevertheless respond to this request and reduce our FY20 budget by 1% (approximately $1 million), before June 30, 2020. We must also plan to reduce our FY21 budget by 2% (approximately $2 million).

While everyone at the university is already working together to develop plans to cut costs in the short-term and the Sustainable Financial Model Working Group is developing a financial model to guide how the university manages its budget over the long term, the additional challenge of raising $1 million in this fiscal year is a one-time event and will be handled as such.

I know there are many questions about the changes coming and how colleges, units and the entire university will be impacted. We don’t have all the answers right now, but I can tell you the changes we make now will set the university up to be stronger, more focused, better able to deliver on our land-grant mission and meet the needs of our students and our state.

Voluntary Furlough

The feedback we have received from our community since the budget forum on Nov. 7 covers a lot of topics. One suggestion we have heard repeatedly, and one that brings me great pride in our shared commitment to our university, is voluntary employee furlough. While volunteering for furlough is no small thing, it is an expedient and immediate way for employees to help the university reduce costs and there appears to be strong interest from our employees to contribute.

To help us meet the estimated $1 million reduction in our current budget, the executive leadership team and I are participating in voluntary furlough. I will take five furlough days and 95% of the cabinet is also participating. Voluntary furlough is also an option to all eligible employees — all employees except teaching assistants, research assistants, temporary employees or anyone working in the United States on a H1B Visa. All eligible U of I employees may take up to five furlough days between now and late spring — dates vary for nine- and 12-month contracts. There is no requirement to participate, nor are there repercussions for those who decide not to participate. This is a very personal decision and we respect whatever choice you make.

You may take furlough for as little as one hour and as much as five days, but you cannot cancel classes for furlough. No work can be done while furloughed and all furlough must be pre-approved by your supervisor, as with any form of leave.

In addition, Non-Faculty Exempt (NFE) employees and non-teaching faculty who take furlough are limited to working no more than 40 hours, less the amount of furlough taken, in any week furlough is taken. This is a federal labor law requirement, explained in more detail in the voluntary furlough FAQ. If you decide to take furlough, you can record this time on your timesheet under the “Furlough” heading.

Long-term staffing is another area we are looking at to reduce costs, including a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program and an Optional Retirement Incentive Program. More detailed information about these two options will be provided to you soon.

As you consider whether voluntary furlough is right for you, my leadership team and I will continue to review comments and cost-cutting/saving ideas submitted through the online response form. No idea is too big or too small. I know that together we will put together the right combination of cost-saving measures to meet our goals and strengthen the institution.

If you have questions about this, please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at 208-885-3638.

Scott Green

TO:  University of Idaho Faculty and Staff
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Oct. 30, 2019
SUBJECT:  Budget and Financial Planning Update

When I came to the University of Idaho in July as the 19th president, I pledged to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and supporters that I would bring my passion for my alma mater and my experience in business and shared governance to support the work you do every day. I also said collaboration, transparency and informed decision-making are my guiding principles. It is time to put those principles into practice under the most difficult of circumstances.

The university is facing significant budget challenges that must be addressed in a thoughtful, deliberate way to most effectively fulfill our land-grant mission of teaching, discovery and service. We must elevate our institution to be the very best version it can be, and to do that, we must work together to improve our financial position. None of you put us here, but nevertheless we must work together collaboratively to put our university back on solid financial footing. That collaboration starts with communication.

We will communicate using a variety of methods over the next few months as we develop and implement strategies to address our budget challenges. We will be as transparent as possible. I realize that sharing more information may cause stress at times. With that said, it is university leadership’s job to provide you with the most complete and up-to-date information available and to provide reasonable and effective solutions to fiscal challenges.

I will provide periodic written and video communications to keep you informed. College and unit-specific communications will be coming as well as communications from members of the leadership team on other budget-related topics at a more local level.

We will host an open forum next week on the Moscow campus (also via Zoom, separate announcement to come) to discuss these issues as a community and I plan to meet with colleges and units in the coming months to talk about the budget challenges and plans to address them.

The Budget Challenges Defined

The university has two primary financial goals:

  1. Balance revenue and expenses
  2. Rebuild and maintain adequate reserve funds

The bottom line is this: we have been living beyond our means, and we don’t have enough resources in reserve. As you know from managing your own personal finances, if you’ve got more money going out than is coming in, you’ve got two choices: increase revenue or reduce expenses. The same is true for U of I. To increase revenue, we need to either increase the amount of money we get from state appropriations and taxpayer dollars (49% of our general education budget), or increase what we bring in from tuition (45% of our general education budget). We are not expecting increases in either of these areas so our only other option is to reduce expenses.

Balancing Revenue and Expenses

I recognize before my arrival at the university, you went through budget cuts. But these cuts did not fully address the coming deficits and additional, new issues have emerged that required our attention.

During FY19, the university community completed a $5 million one-time reduction across all units of the institution. In addition to these one-time cuts, we implemented base budget reductions for FY20 to start the process of bringing our expense budget into alignment with our revenues annually.

You may wonder about whether funding for projects like the ICCU Arena or the CAFE initiative adds to our budget challenges. These are capital projects and are financed by gifts, funding from the State of Idaho and student fees, not through operations or budget cuts. Our budget shortfall issues would still exist even if we weren’t moving forward with these projects.

Rebuilding and Maintaining Reserve Funds

In FY18, several factors diminished the university’s net position (our reserves) including changes in accounting standards ($33 million impact) and operating losses ($21 million impact). We also recognized about a $19 million shortfall in FY19. The university used its reserves to cover its expenses, which is not a sustainable way to operate. In fact, we not only needed to leave those balances untouched, we needed to increase them.

Last spring, university leadership including deans, vice presidents, Faculty Senate, Staff Council and ASUI began considering ways to recover cash and keep our reserve balance from falling. This group agreed upon a distributed and collaborative approach, rather than a centralized approach, to stop further erosion of our reserve balance.

What Cost-Cutting Have We Done So Far in FY20?

As mentioned above, the university completed $5 million in budget cuts for FY19 before I came on board as president. When I started in July, we anticipated an additional operating shortfall of $14 million for FY20. This shortfall adds to the financial challenges we have seen in seven of the past 10 years in the general education fund. We had work to do.

To reduce costs and continue to bring expenses into alignment with revenues, each vice president was asked to make one-time reductions in their general education budgets effective July 1, 2019. These budget reductions were strategically passed down to the colleges and units with the expectation that they manage to those targets. This approach allowed flexibility in how reductions are met.

In addition, to slow and reverse a further decrease in our reserve balances, unrestricted fund types are also being monitored and spending controlled with a goal of maintaining existing cash balances (i.e. balances on June 30, 2020, must be equal to or greater than cash balances on July 1, 2019).

In July, I began meeting monthly with all who report directly to me — including vice presidents, other leaders as well as the dean of each college — to review the budget plans each college and unit diligently compiled. I am proud that, almost without exception, our team put the interests of the university first. We are now almost four months into implementing these plans, we are on target, and I appreciate the commitment our community has made to meet this fiscal year’s budgetary goals while also maintaining the quality education, outreach and research for which we are known. This is not easy work and I am grateful to our community for stepping up and making the tough but necessary decisions that are keeping us on the right path.

FY21 and Beyond

The $14 million budget reductions we put in place for FY20 will become permanent base budget cuts going forward. In addition, the student enrollment mix and current enrollment trends suggest that tuition will likely decline another $8 million over the next two years. With this in mind, we estimate the budget shortfall will total $22 million by FY22. This figure includes the $14 million in budget reductions already in process plus $8 million in anticipated additional cuts. We are using this estimate to inform our long-term cost reduction plan.

Using the same approach we took last spring to implement the $14 million budget reduction, the vice presidents, deans and unit leads will guide decision-making regarding how to meet the additional $8 million budget adjustment in a collaborative and systemic way. Consistent with our commitment to shared governance, Provost John Wiencek is working collaboratively with Faculty Senate and Staff Council leadership to develop a strategy to reduce expenditures in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Strategic Enrollment Management, etc. This strategy will likely include forming task forces/ad hoc committees as well as reinstituting the Institutional Planning and Effectiveness Committee to guide the work.

I will add that correcting our current course will require strategic investment in some areas of the university to grow enrollment and continue to build brand equity. We will invest in enrollment management and recruitment, communications and marketing and advancement/development because we must. Increasing revenue is in large part dependent upon how well we market to and recruit new students and how well we maintain strong and meaningful relationships with our alumni, donors and friends.

Next Steps

We will continue working closely with university leadership and campus shared governance groups on the details of the steps to be implemented as the budget reduction plans are implemented across colleges and units. While this is a difficult thing to communicate to our university community, in order to correct our current course and reduce expenses, we are expecting, among other things, to make reductions in our workforce. Following are some of the strategies we may consider in order to reduce costs. This list is by no means comprehensive and is not in order of priority. It is subject to change and colleges and units may employ different strategies to reach their goals:

  • Academic program eliminations
  • Centralizing services across the university
  • Contract non-renewals and layoffs
  • Early retirement and voluntary separation incentives
  • Not filling vacant positions
  • Organizational restructuring
  • Outsourcing/contracting some services
  • Salary reductions and furloughs

Working Group Update

So far, the university’s focus has been on resourcing our activities in the short-term while working on a sustainable plan for balancing our revenue and expenses. These discussions have not been easy, but are vital to achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. In order to meet our mission, we must meet the expectations and needs of our students, our communities and our state.

As the university community works together to reduce costs and hold our reserves steady, we have convened a Sustainable Financial Model Working Group that will work together using their collective expertise, experience and research to develop a sustainable financial model for the university. This working group is broad-based and includes representatives from faculty, staff, students and content experts outside the university. This group met for the first time on Oct. 4 and will meet again Nov. 12. The group will focus on high level financial modeling options that will build in the ability to invest in strategic priorities and initiatives. While the details are yet to be developed, the goal is to create a model that aligns budgets with enrollment. The right model will benefit the University of Idaho long term and ensure its financial health. I expect this group to report its conclusions and recommendations in early 2020 with implementation of a sustainable financial model to follow.

Our Challenges Don’t Define Us. How We Meet Them Does.

Every problem has a solution. Our financial position must be improved for the long term and it will take discipline, strength and persistence to do that. We did not get here overnight so it will take some time to correct our course and I am confident we will be successful. We have big goals for the University of Idaho so we simply must take firm action now to deliver on our top priorities:

  1. Support student success by striving to be an innovative, outcomes-oriented institution for our students. We must bolster how we grow our enrollment, enhance our retention efforts, improve our graduation rates, and ensure career success. We must deliver the breakthrough experiences our students deserve and our state demands.
  2. Ensure excellence across our research, scholarship and creative activity. We are Idaho’s premier research university. We will continue to connect research to the student experience, and we’ll continue to do work that makes a difference in our world.
  3. Champion the University of Idaho. We have incredible stories to tell. Lives changed. Discoveries made. Impact generated for communities, organizations, and industries. I am proud of this university’s excellence, and will continue to ensure our story is told in the media, in our communities, and in the corridors of power in this state.

We must develop a spending reduction plan that will allow us to provide the resources we need to ensure that we are delivering an exceptional educational experience to all of our students and driving our research and outreach programs forward. At times, the path we are on may leave you feeling discouraged. But please remember we are putting our fiscal house in order so that we can fulfill our mission and continue the great work you do every day.

The challenges we face do not define who we are. But the way we show up and manage through them does. We have much to be optimistic about. We are making progress in our enrollment management and outreach programming. Attendance at our recruitment events is increasing. Our FY20 marketing efforts are vibrant and gaining traction. And our commitment to our students is as strong as ever. The important, impactful work that happens every day on our Moscow campus and at our centers, extension and research sites across the state, matters and makes a difference. We have much to be proud of. Together we will work through this challenge and come out braver and bolder for our efforts.

TO:  University of Idaho Community
FROM:  Chandra Zenner Ford, Strategic Initiatives
Office of the President

DATE:  Sept. 5, 2019
SUBJECT:  University Working Groups

Welcome back! The president and I look forward to working with you to make 2019-20 a great academic year for our students, faculty and staff. As many of you have learned from President Scott Green’s early communications, he intends to use a working group model as a way to garner input to address some of the bigger challenges we face. The process is intended to take a deep look at all aspects of the strategic areas of focus for this first year and beyond. We know there are many questions about the working groups and the sustainable financial model working group in particular, and we want to answer those questions.

The working groups are a tool for informed, transparent decision-making on issues where we can benefit from an inclusive process representing all stakeholders. Our first working group this fall will address our desire to implement a sustainable financial model. The university has been unable to balance its operating results in seven of the past 10 years, resulting in dangerously low reserves. John Wiencek, provost and executive vice president, and Brian Foisy, vice president for finance and administration, will co-chair the sustainable financial model working group. We intend to select appropriate leaders to chair the other working groups as they are formed. For instance, our new athletic director, Terry Gawlik, will chair the sustainable athletics model working group. We expect to also form working groups for enrollment management, student experience, Idaho Central Credit Union Arena, the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, as well as online education. This list is not exhaustive.

We plan to engage a facilitator to help our working groups stay focused, to prepare communications during the process and to create roadmaps for implementation of the recommendations. The working group conclusions will be shared with the cabinet, Faculty Senate and Staff Council for feedback before roadmaps are finalized and recommendations implemented. The groups will be made up of a diverse and representative group of administration, faculty, staff, students and external experts. The sustainable financial model working group will begin meeting in early October and complete its work by early 2020.

We want to thank the following members of our internal and external U of I community for accepting the invitation to serve:

Sustainable Financial Model Working Group

  • John Wiencek, Provost and Executive Vice President, Co-chair
  • Brian Foisy, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Co-chair

Internal Representation

  • Margarita Cardona, Director, Administrative Services, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Cari Espenschade, Vice Chair, Staff Council; Administrative Coordinator, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Stephanie Fox, Manager, Facilities and Operations, U of I Boise
  • Terry Grieb, Chair, Faculty Senate and Faculty, College of Business and Economics
  • Patrick Hrdlicka, Faculty, Chemistry
  • Brian Johnson, Faculty, Engineering
  • Jerrold Long, Dean, College of Law
  • Jacob Lockhart, President, Associated Students University of Idaho
  • Alexis Murray, President, Student Alumni Relations Board
  • Brad Ritts, Associate Vice President, Office of Research and Economic Development

External Representation

  • Sharon Allen, (retired) Chairman, Deloitte
  • Annette Elg, (retired) CFO, The J.R.Simplot Co.
  • Craig Olson (retired) CFO, Albertsons
  • Carson Howell, CFO, Idaho State Board of Education

We deeply appreciate the dedication, expertise and service each of these members bring to this complex issue.

The president and I recognize that our budget issues create anxiety and concern about our future. We will endeavor to keep you abreast of the working group’s progress and are committed to moving beyond our financial issues. We appreciate the effort by all to put the university first. While we have some hard decisions to make, we will do this together and ultimately establish a sustainable financial future. Please feel free to reach out to either the president or me with any questions.

Office of the President
Strategic Initiatives
Chandra Zenner Ford

TO:  Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni and Friends
FROM:  Scott Green, President
DATE:  Aug. 7, 2019
SUBJECT:  Introducing Our New Director of Athletics

Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing Terry Gawlik as our new director of athletics at the University of Idaho. Terry’s hire was approved by the State Board of Education today and we look forward to her beginning work as a Vandal Sept. 1. She brings 25 years of leadership experience in intercollegiate athletics, including 14 years as the designated senior woman administrator at the University of Wisconsin.

As Wisconsin’s senior associate athletic director for sport administration, Terry serves as a key member of Wisconsin’s senior staff and is responsible for the direct supervision of 10 sports and associated budgets, six head coaches and 425 student-athletes. Her career includes extensive leadership roles on Big Ten Conference and NCAA committees. Over the past 12 years, she has chaired the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee and the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee. She has a broad network of athletic directors, coaches and NCAA personnel.

Terry has been a critical leader in her department’s strategic plans, policies and decision-making processes, including gender equity and diversity issues, coaching staff evaluations, recommendations and contract extensions. Terry also oversees the department’s implementation and compliance with policies and procedures regarding Title IX, gender equity, diversity and sexual assault and violence training. Her depth and breadth of experience will be invaluable at U of I. Learn more about her experience.

Terry leads with vision, integrity and enthusiasm. She is dedicated to fostering a culture that allows all student-athletes to be heard, to succeed and to experience standout programs. This commitment means ensuring a supportive environment at all levels, allowing our student-athletes to excel in competition, in the classroom and in the community. It means striving to win championships in our sports. And it means applying strong fiscal stewardship to budget challenges we face within the department.

Terry and I are both aware we have work to do to build on our excellence. We need to form strong relationships, to engage our fans and alumni and to renew our brave and bold spirit to meet our challenges on the field and as a department. I am eager to accomplish those goals.

I appreciate the work that goes into making a major hiring decision like this. First, thank you to our Athletics Department staff who, even with uncertainty, have patiently continued to serve student-athletes with diligence and dedication. Thank you to the search advisory committee participants and the interview team who took on this task with the seriousness that our students and staff deserve. And thank you to the broader community of alumni, fans and friends who have continued to support our student-athletes and our programs.

As we head into the academic year, I am looking forward to Terry’s leadership, the continued efforts of all our student-athletes and what we can accomplish together in this new era for Vandal Athletics.

Go Vandals!

Scott Green

Letter from the President
Office of the President |
July 1, 2019

I am thrilled to be back in Moscow among this great Vandal Family. This is a new chapter for the University of Idaho and a time for positive change.

To all our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, I pledge to bring a lifetime of passion for my alma mater and years of experience in business and shared governance to support the work you do every day. I cherish this place and view our people as our most important asset. Let’s be excited about what we can accomplish together as we harness our momentum.

As an alumnus, I’ve stayed connected to the university as my career took me around the globe. I know our land-grant university remains a special place, earning a well-deserved reputation for student success, a dynamic research enterprise and a strong connection to communities. The challenges ahead are opportunities for growth and for new ideas to take shape.

There is no place quite like the University of Idaho. This great research university is where breakthroughs happen. Vandals are on the front lines of everything from space exploration to cybersecurity to agriculture and natural resources. We’re leaders in the arts and social sciences. Let’s write new chapters in that success story.

Click the image to watch a video message.

Where do we go from here? Our Strategic Plan remains a useful guide to get started. With that underpinning, I have three key priorities to deliver on our mission and elevate our institution. I hope for this to be a renaissance period for U of I. After some hard work setting us up for success, we can be the model that other universities look to. We can be the very best version of the University of Idaho.

I feel we can make significant progress on these priorities over the year ahead:

  • Supporting student success: U of I can and should be an innovative, outcomes-oriented institution for our students. Let’s closely examine and work to bolster how we grow our enrollment, enhance our retention efforts, improve our graduation rates and ensure career success. We must deliver the breakthrough experiences our students deserve and our state demands.
  • Ensuring excellence across our research, scholarship and creative activity: We are Idaho’s premier research university. I learn more every day about the innovation and ingenuity of our faculty and research teams, and I am deeply impressed. We will continue to connect research to the student experience, and we’ll continue to do work that makes a difference in our world.
  • Championing the University of Idaho: We have incredible stories to tell. Lives changed. Discoveries made. Impact generated for communities, organizations and industries. I am proud to be ambassador-in-chief for U of I excellence and will fight to see our story told in the media, in our communities and in the corridors of power in this state. Let’s be proud of our success!

If we excel in those principal priorities, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

As I’ve said, we have challenges. When it comes to budgeting, we need to be able to resource our activities in the short term and the long term. Revenues simply must meet expenses. We also need to make key hires in places like athletics and elsewhere, processes that are already underway.

To immediately take action on our priorities and our challenges, I’m placing an emphasis on informed decision-making, strategic relationships and a reconfigured leadership structure. We are developing working groups made up of people from inside and outside the university and covering multiple areas — university finances, the student experience, and athletics, for instance. Working groups will listen, learn, discuss and then bring recommendations back to me for informed decision-making. They will also help produce and guide roadmaps to implement that decision-making. Chandra Zenner Ford, based in Boise, rejoins U of I to manage the progress of these groups. We will also work on our relationships with key stakeholders, including our State Board of Education. A strong relationship with our board is critical for progress across areas at U of I to meet long-term goals. Based in Moscow, Toni Broyles, another U of I alumna rejoining our team, will lead stakeholder engagement.

I’ll also be meeting regularly with our faculty, student and staff leadership, as well as our community members in Moscow and statewide. Expect more details on these approaches as I have a chance to engage more and the semester draws near. Collaboration, transparency and informed decision-making are my guiding principles.

Tomorrow we’ll have a barbecue on campus, and I’m looking forward to connecting with Vandal friends and community members. After that, I plan to travel around our statewide locations to listen and learn from our Vandals and others. I look forward to being amazed, and strengthening my Vandal pride, if that’s even possible.

I hope you’ll reach out to me or follow my Facebook page. I’m also happy to chat by phone or meet in person. Thank you for the warm welcome to this prestigious role — it truly is an honor. I look forward to working with you to deliver on our mission for our students and our state, now and in the future.

C. Scott Green
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green

Contact Us

Physical Address:
Administration Building
Room 105
Moscow, ID


Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3151
Moscow, ID