URI begins process to design and adopt a new budget model

Incentive-based budget philosophy will reward innovation, collaboration, and a ‘one-university’ mindset

KINGSTON, R.I.—Nov. 20, 2023—The University of Rhode Island has launched an initiative to transition the University from an incremental budget model to an incentive-based budget model.

The University has appointed a steering committee and a design committee composed of faculty and staff from across URI to lead the budget-model redesign, as well as an executive committee that will oversee final implementation. To promote broad and continuous community engagement, the Office of Financial Strategy and Planning has launched a new, dedicated website that provides information about the process, answers to common questions, a timeline to implementation, and a list of committee membership.

The budget-model redesign is part of a strategic effort to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of URI through the alignment of resources and decision-making authority, establishment of incentives to reward operational efficiencies, and diversification of revenue streams. The enhanced budget model will inform resource allocation and better position URI to fulfill its teaching, research, and service missions as one of the nation’s leading public flagship universities.

The incentive-based budget model framework is expected to be in place beginning in July 2024 and refinements will be made during the 2025 fiscal year.

“The past year has been one of great momentum for the University of Rhode Island,” President Marc Parlange wrote in a recent campus message, citing the University’s 10-year strategic plan and renewed investment in URI by the state. Despite the recent progress, the president noted the limitations of the University’s current incremental budget model.

“Our ability to expand our reach and impact, enhance student opportunities and outcomes, and be the university our state and world need is limited significantly by our current budget model,” Parlange said. “That is why we are beginning a process to design and adopt a new budget model at URI, called an incentive-based budget model. This new model will empower colleges and departments to set and achieve priorities, provide greater transparency in the budget process, incentivize revenue-generating opportunities that drive innovation, achieve cost efficiencies, encourage research collaboration, and support the strategic initiatives of our Focus URI plan.”

The development and implementation of the new incentive-based budget model is rooted in five principles:

  • Reward innovation, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and a “one university” mindset.
  • Provide transparency, clarity, and predictability.
  • Build an environment of inclusive excellence.
  • Foster responsibility and accountability.
  • Incentivize increased academic quality, aligning core competencies and avoiding redundant offerings, or offerings that are misaligned with areas of expertise.

The process is being governed by three appointed committees, whose charges and membership are detailed on the new IBB website. They are:

  • The executive committee, which will provide guidance and direction on budget model implementation from the institutional perspective and be responsible for finalizing the model.
  • The steering committee, which will provide a series of recommendations to the executive committee, accounting for potential incentives and ramifications across a wide range of subject areas.
  • The design committee, which will be responsible for modeling and operationalizing steering committee recommendations and provide technical feedback on implementation.

Work on the new budgeting model includes bi-weekly meetings of the steering and design committees.

Regular updates are being provided to the President’s Executive Council, President’s Stewardship Council, Faculty Senate, and Deans’ Council, as well as in several other community forums.

Members of the University community who have questions should submit them through the “Have a question?” feature on the new IBB website or may reach out to members of the IBB committees, listed on the site.