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April 2013 Archives

CLA Budget 1001--Part 7: Grants & External Funding

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By Brent Gustafson, finance director

Many of the columns in this series to date have focused on the large and flexible sources of funding in the budget for the College of Liberal Arts, such as tuition and state appropriations. This column will examine some of the fiscal aspects of grant funding, a smaller but still important part of the CLA financial picture.

Sponsored vs. Non-Sponsored
An important distinction that's present throughout the University of Minnesota's financial structure is that of sponsored versus non-sponsored expenditures. Much of the focus of financial matters within CLA is on non-sponsored resources, because these comprise the lion's share of the CLA budget, and these are flexible funds that the college can allocate to meet its priorities. Tuition and state appropriations are non-sponsored funds.

Sponsored funds or sponsored expenditures refer to funds where an external funder has given money to the University to carry out a project or function, most typically a research project. Most sponsored projects are awarded through competitive processes, in which a University researcher makes an application for funding for a specific project. The terms "sponsored" and "grants" are often used interchangeably to describe this type of funding. When a sponsor awards a grant to a researcher, the sponsoring organization has specific criteria and interests for the money, and is therefore not discretionary the way non-sponsored funds would be.

Across the University, there is considerable variation among colleges in the portion of the budget that is composed of sponsored funding. For CLA, sponsored funding covered $14.9 million of expenditures in FY 2012, out of a total all funds budget of $249.5 million (6%). By comparison, the College of Science and Engineering had $124.3 million of sponsored activity in FY 2012 out of a total all funds budget of $346.7 million (36%).

Sources of CLA Grant Funding
The federal government plays a large role in funding projects at research universities, and that is the case both for the University as a whole and for CLA. Of the $14.9 million of sponsored expenditures in CLA in FY 2012, grants from federal agencies covered $12.2 million (82%).

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Grant Activity Among CLA Departments

Across departments in CLA there is considerable variability in the opportunities available to pursue externally-sponsored research funding. Within CLA, the Department of Psychology has been the largest recipient of grant funding, regularly accounting for over half of the sponsored activity within CLA in any given year. The following table shows FY 2012 sponsored expenditures by department.

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Indirect Cost Recovery
Many external funders recognize that the University must maintain infrastructure that is essential to carrying out its research mission, and as a result, grant funds allow the charging of various types of overhead expenses to the grant. This charging is often referred to as indirect cost recovery (ICR), which as its name implies, is a partial recovery for the costs that are not directly related to the sponsored project, but are indirectly associated with it. These types of costs are also commonly referred to as facilities and administration (F&A), which comprise the main types of expenditures that are offset by these charges. The allowable rate charged for ICR varies across types of funding, and this rate is often subject to University agreements with its many funders.

In FY 2012, the college brought in $3.7 million of ICR revenue on its $14.9 million of sponsored expenditures. A portion of these funds are utilized at the collegiate level to cover costs associated with maintaining necessary research infrastructure and a portion of these funds are directed toward the relevant academic units to support the infrastructure needed at the department level.

Accolades April 25, 2013

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Regents Professor Elaine Tyler May has received a Guggenheim fellowship. It will support her book project "The American Quest for Security, 1960 to the present." Read more

Regents Professor Patricia Hampl (English) will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree from St. Bonaventure University (St. Bonaventure, NY) on May 12.

Associate Professor George Sheets (classical and Near Eastern studies) has received a President's Award for Outstanding Service. The award recognizes exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units.

Four CLA faculty members have received 2013 Council of Graduate Students (COGS) Outstanding Faculty Awards:

Assistant Professor Jane Gingrich (political science)
Associate Professor Eden Torres (gender, women and sexuality studies)
Associate Professor Marco Yzer (journalism and mass communication)
Associate Professor Hui Zou (statistics)

Associate Professor Shaden M. Tageldin (cultural studies and comparative literature) has received the honorable mention for the 2013 Harry Levin Prize, awarded by the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), for her book Disarming Words: Empire and the Seductions of Translation in Egypt (University of California Press, 2011). The 2013 Levin Prize distinguishes the best first book in comparative literature published in 2010-2012. The prize committee was "notably excited about the book's theoretical considerations of translation using the paradigm of seduction, as well as the brilliant case studies, with their sophisticated movements among works, languages, and cultures."

Associate Professor Howard Lavine's (political science) book The Ambivalent Partisan (Oxford University Press, 2012), won the David O. Sears Award from the International Society of Political Psychology for the best book on the political psychology of mass behavior. The award will be presented at the annual meetings of ISPP at Herzliya, Israel, in July.

CLA Budget 1001--Part 6: Instructional Funding

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By Brent Gustafson, finance director

Within the College of Liberal Arts, the delivery of the college's curriculum takes many forms. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members are a key resource that provide teaching, along with their expected research and service responsibilities. Beyond the faculty, however, the college employs contract faculty, instructors, and graduate assistants to deliver the curriculum. This column will look at this important aspect of CLA's finances and operations.

Single Allocation

The current fiscal year (2013) is the third year that CLA has delegated instructional resource management to the academic departments of the college. Prior to this time, CLA Administration played a larger role in determining teaching assistant staffing levels, course minima, and the numbers of sections of a course. Now, academic departments make these decisions based on their own identified needs and priorities and within the unit's instructional resources. The college still plays a role in consulting with departments about enrollment trends and best practices.

In order to fund these priorities, departments receive from the college a "single allocation" of instructional resources with which to deliver their curriculum. Known as "TA/UI" (teaching assistants/unassigned instruction), the single allocation is a bucket of resources with which departments hire the appropriate staff to either teach or assist in the classroom. The college also sets enrollment targets for units to accompany the allocation of TA/UI to help ensure efficient use of the money.

Instructional staff can also vary in the types of appointments fulfilling this function. Many of these roles are filled by professional and administrative instructors (P&A, approximately 400 this year). Beyond these P&A instructors, the college employs a large number of graduate assistants (approximately 1,000 this year). The role of these graduate assistants varies widely throughout the college, with some TAs serving as graders or assisting TAs, while other graduate assistants teach courses on their own. In any given year, approximately three-fifths of what CLA spends for instruction is for graduate assistants.

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Over time, CLA has gradually decreased its spending on instruction provided by non-tenure/tenure-track faculty. The primary reasons for this decline are related to decreasing numbers of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the college. As noted in a prior column (see "What we control, what we don't"), enrollment in CLA has fallen by just over 1,000 students from fall semester 2009 to fall semester 2012. In addition to the decline in the number of students, CLA has also experienced a decrease in the share of credits taken by CLA undergraduate students within the college (see "A closer look at tuition"). In the 2008-09 academic year, CLA students took 73% of their credits within CLA, but that share fell to 66% last year (AY 2011-12).

With this decline in demand, CLA has experienced a lower need for instructional resources. Pulling back on funding this capacity has helped CLA make budget reductions in the face of continued budget pressures related to tuition revenue.

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Effective and efficient use of TA/UI resources is one important way that departments help meet multiple goals for the college. Ideally, the curriculum within each department is attractive to students and enrolls well, in order to make good use of faculty instructional time as well as the time of teaching assistants and P&A instructors. Appealing to student interests and enrollment trends in turn helps the college's tuition revenue by drawing students into CLA classes, both from within CLA and also from other colleges.

Accolades April 11, 2013

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Professor Tim Kehoe (economics) has been named the College of Liberal Arts Dean's Medalist.

Professor Ananya Chatterjea (theatre arts and dance), Associate Professor Alan Love (philosophy) and Professor Joan Tronto (political science) have been named CLA Scholars of the College.

Professor Ron Aminzade (sociology), Associate Professor Paul Goren (political science) and Associate Professor Saje Mathieu (history) have received the Arthur "Red" & Helene B. Motley Exemplary Teaching Award.

Regents Professor Patricia Hampl (English) has received the Dr. Matthew Stark Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Faculty Award.

Professor Andrew Oxenham (psychology) and Professor Barbara Welke (history) have been named Distinguished McKnight University Professors.

Professor Kay Reyerson (history) has been awarded the Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy. This annual award recognizes members who have provided leadership in developing, organizing, promoting, and sponsoring medieval studies through the extensive administrative work that is crucial to the health of medieval studies but often goes unrecognized by the profession at large.

Professor Donna Gabaccia (history) will be awarded the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society for her book Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective at the Organization of American Historians meeting in San Francisco this weekend.

Associate Professor Jigna Desai (gender, women, & sexuality studies) has won the Association for Asian American Studies Excellence in Mentorship Award.

Assistant Professor Clint Carroll (American Indian studies) has been awarded a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2013-2014.

Graduate student Lalinne Suon Bell (creative writing) has received the 2013 Scribes For Human Rights Fellowship. The fellowship supports an MFA student to work with the Human Rights Program as a writer-in-residence. Lalinne's research and writing will focus on human trafficking in Cambodia. She plans to work closely with the Somaly Mam Foundation, an organization dedicated to the eradication of sex slavery in Cambodia.

Graduate student Anna Rosensweig (French & Italian) has been awarded a Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation. There were nearly 600 applicants nationwide and less than 30 recipients.