Task: As stated in the HLC action letter, Highlands must provide evidence that the institution has ameliorated the findings of non-compliance identified in this action that resulted in the imposition of Probation, Core Component:
- University accomplishments, plans and results in increasing and stabilizing its CFI, primary reserve ratio, and University reserves;
- use of new institutional capital planning strategies demonstrating progress to keep projects on time, within scope and on budget; and
- mission-driven, integrated and transparent strategic planning and budgeting decisions;
More information was provided in the HLC action letter:
The University is out of compliance with Criterion Five, Core Component 5.A, “the institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future,” for the following reasons:
- The University has not demonstrated that it has the financial resources to support its programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality, nor has it demonstrated appropriate financial practices in this regard, because:
- the University’s history is marked by recurrent and unresolved fiscal concerns including revenue declines, an unstable CFI score, little evidence of sustained planning activities, and a 15-year history of financial concerns, as expressed in the 2000 Comprehensive Report leading to a 2004 Focused Visit, a 2009 Monitoring Report, and 2013 Financial Indicators Report, which indicate the University’s challenge in meeting this requirement;
- The University has not demonstrated evidence of a completed integrated planning process, any accomplishments attained for Strategic Plan-HU Vision 2020, or sustained processes for strategic plan implementation or established budget procedures; and
- While the University in its August 2016 response described positive cash flow as well as the likelihood of additional cuts from the state, there appeared to be no new financial resources since the Commission’s recent evaluation to assure improved financial support for educational operations now and in the future.
Resolution: Highlands needs to accomplish things to resolve Probation Area:
- Provide evidence of accomplishments, plans, and results in increasing and stabilizing our CFI, primary reserve ratio, and University reserves.
- Provide evidence of our new institutional capital planning strategies, including our success in completing the Trolley Barn on time and under budget.
- Create a mission-driven, integrated, and transparent strategic planning process (see Probation Area 5.C) and budget process.
- Show evidence of integrated and transparent budgeting decisions.
Note: The evidence of the integrated and transparent strategic planning is present in Probation Action Plan 5.C.
Background: As noted by the HLC, Highlands has had 15-year history of financial concerns. The core of this probation area, along with Probation Area 5.C, ties to our lack of sustained evidence of budgeting to strategic planning, and then transparently presenting those budget decisions to the university community.
|✓||Creation of plan to increase and stabilize the CFI, primary reserve ratio, and University reserves||Fall 2016||VPFA||Discussed in 5.A. of Assurance Argument|
|✓||Fall 2016 report to Board of Regents and Campus Community on our accomplishments regarding this plan||November||VPFA||2015-2016 Audit (approved by regents and NM Department of Finance and Administration; contains section on reserves)|
|✓||Spring 2017 report to Board of Regents and Campus Community on our accomplishments regarding this plan||Spring 2017||VPFA||Budget approved at April 28, 2017 meeting|
|Fall 2017 report to Board of Regents and Campus Community on our accomplishments regarding this plan||Fall 2017||VPFA||HLC Assurance Argument 5.A. (shows CFI, reserves; presented to Regents on September 6, 2017), Audit will be completed November 2017|
|✓||Creation of new institutional capital planning strategies (ICPS) to keep projects on time, within scope, and on budget||Prior to Trolley Barn Project||Director of Facility Services||
|Application of new institutional capital planning strategies to Trolley Barn project||Summer 2016 (completion of Trolley Barn)||Director of Facility Services||Trolley Barn Budget and Timeline|
|✓||Revision of ICPS based on Trolley Barn project||Fall 2016||Director of Facility Services||Facilities Management Procedures for Building Renovation and Construction Projects Over $1 Million|
|✓||Formal approval of ICPS by Administration and Board of Regents||Spring 2017||Board of Regents||Board of Regents Minutes|
|✓||Discussion of strategic plan and ICPS with Campus Master Planning Firm||Spring 2017||Director of Facility Services||Campus Master Plan|
|✓||Drafting of new Campus Master plan||Spring 2017||Architecture Planners||Campus Master Plan|
|Application of ICPS to Rogers Administration Project||2018-2019||Director of Facility Services||Rogers Building Budget documents|
|✓||Drafting of strategic budgeting process, with feedback from administration and faculty||Fall 2016||VPFA||Budget Process|
|✓||Approval of Budget Process by Faculty Senate||September 14, 2016||Faculty Senate||Faculty Senate Minutes|
|✓||Formal launch of Financial Year 2017-2018 Budget Process||Fall 2016||VPFA||Global e-mail, linked on VPFA page|
|✓||Distribution of FY18 Strategic Priorities||Fall 2016||VPFA||FY18 Priorities|
|✓||Fall 2016 Listening Sessions||Fall 2016||VPFA||Listening Session documents|
|✓||Formation of Campus Budget Committee (CBC)||October 2016||VPFA||Budget Process (description of committee); Meeting Minutes|
|✓||Budget requests due with explicit links to strategic plan||October 18, 2016||VPFA||Budget requests|
|✓||Budget hearings with individual units||November 2016||Budget Director||Budget Timeline|
|✓||Winter 2016 Quarterly meeting of CBC||November 17, 2016||VPFA||Meeting minutes|
|✓||Budget prioritization based on strategic goals and yearly priorities||November 2016 – January 2017||Executive Management Team||Found in VP budget prioritizations|
|✓||Fiscal Year 18 Budget presentation to campus||March 2, 2017||President, VPFA||Zoom recording; Presentation on Priorities|
|✓||FY18 Budget approved by Board of Regents||Spring 2017||Board of Regents||April 28, 2017 meeting minutes|
|✓||Spring 2017 Quarterly meeting of CBC||Spring 2017||VPFA||Meeting minutes|
|✓||FY19 Budget priorities set||August 2017 (delayed by state legislature not approving Higher Ed budget)||Strategic Planning Group||FY19 Priorities|
|✓||Units work on budgets and strategic plans||Fall 2017||Units||FY19 Budget Timeline|
|✓||Fall 2017 Listening Sessions||August 30, 2017||VPFA||Listening Session documents|
|Budget requests due with explicit links to strategic plan||Fall 2017||Units||FY19 Budget Requests|
|Budget meetings between VPs and Deans and departments/units||Fall 2017||VPs/Deans||VP/Dean Budget Prioritizations|
|Winter 2017 Quarterly meeting of CBC||Winter 2017||VPFA||Meeting minutes|
|Budget prioritization based on strategic goals and yearly priorities||Winter 2017||Executive Management Team||FY19 Budget Prioritization|
|Fiscal Year 19 Budget presentation to campus||Winter 2017||President, VPFA||Zoom recording|
|FY19 Budget approved by Board of Regents||Spring 2018||Board of Regents||Board of Regents minutes|