IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Q&A with Flagship 2030 task force chair Steve McNally
As the University of Colorado at Boulder progresses with the Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan and positioning as one of the nation's leading public research universities, nine task forces representing key components of the university have been formed in order to help develop strategies for implementing the 18 initiatives outlined in the plan. The task force reports have been submitted and are online at the Flagship 2030 Implementation website. Meet Steve McNally, chair of the budget task force.
The budget task force was given the responsibility to address the Flagship 2030 initiative of “making enterprise work.” The group’s research and discussions focused both on the externally and internally driven aspects of CU-Boulder’s financial model. The group reviewed financial management reports and statistics that focused on trends of campus revenues and peer comparisons, communicated with campus leaders from both faculty and administration and examined other universities’ operating models.
In order to achieve CU-Boulder’s financial stability and flexibility from an internal perspective, the budget task force recommends implementing a coordinated campus budget model that aligns practices with long-term campus goals and enhances alumni support. Recommendations that have an external focus are designed to increase CU-Boulder’s autonomy and flexibility by establishing the university as a public authority, fully implementing our state-approved enterprise status, developing a tuition/financial aid model that creates affordable access for all students and creating a Board of Visitors to be advisers and public advocates of CU-Boulder.
How do your duties as a task force chair fit in with your background and current position at CU?
I joined the Boulder campus as the associate vice chancellor for budget and finance in January 2007. Prior to joining the campus, I worked in the University of Colorado’s Office of the President as the associate vice president of system operations, responsible for Payroll & Benefits Services, University Management Systems and the then newly created Office of Information Security. Prior to joining CU, I spent many years working for the State of Colorado in a variety of financial and technical roles. My background provides me with a strong understanding of the university’s financial structures and requirements as well as insights into the state government and the legislative process. This Flagship 2030 activity also provided the opportunity to work with Paul Beale, chair of the physics department, who was the co-chair of the budget task force and with many other faculty members who provided a great deal of insight and guidance. In addition, Erika Smith, director of budget for the campus, provided expertise and strong support to the group.
What inspires and challenges you in creating and meeting your task force goals?
I am deeply concerned about CU-Boulder’s ability to continue to provide our students with the highest quality education given the current lack of state support and our current operating model. When implemented, I am confident that the recommendations made by the budget task force, in combination with the other Flagship 2030 recommendations, will greatly contribute to continued success and betterment of the campus.
If you could envision anything for the future of higher education, what would be your greatest aspirations?
My greatest aspiration is for there to be a better understanding of the importance and value of higher education. As a part of this effort, I truly enjoyed working with a group of individuals on the task force, primarily faculty, who truly understand and are committed to this goal. Again, I believe that several of the task force’s recommendations will help to advance awareness of the importance of higher education
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