The second in a series of interviews with the people doing the hands-on work of TEAM.
The Budget Center directors were busy working on the 2017 budgets when they sat down for these interviews. Though they serve different groups, all of the directors expressed their gratitude for the school and division leaders who have been generous with their time and information in their first six months of operation. As senior director, David Woodward says, “This first year is a period of transition. With each quarter, we’ll be refining all of our processes, including how we prepare forecasts.”
We understand that we need to earn people’s trust and are committed to doing so. The Budget Center is new; about half of our staff is new to Tufts and about half the others are new to the groups they serve. We are learning these businesses by meeting with people and building an understanding of their budgets. People have been patient with us as we move to the new model and we really appreciate that.
The people I’ve been in contact with, within Finance, the program managers and within the divisions and Fletcher School, have been amazing. It’s such a great group of people to work with. They make working here very enjoyable and the long hours worthwhile.
Working with Friedman is exciting because they are on such a growth trajectory. They are hiring new faculty and have plans to introduce new programs and new initiatives. People are excited about the new dean there. The medical school has a large research portfolio, which is exciting but also a challenge financially because it has become so hard to get research funding. Depending on the source, a lot of grants don’t support infrastructure costs. I’m looking forward to working with both of the schools to address challenges like this.
So much about the budget originates with the undergrad population. Tuition and financial aid drive the budget so Admissions, the Office of Financial Aid, the dean’s office, the executive team, the Budget Center and many others all have to work together to set tuition rates, determine the right number of students and make sure the budget reflects those decisions.
We’re not only an educational facility but also a health care provider with 300 dental chairs and 900 dental students. The school is involved in everything you would come across in the private sector. We have multiple clinics that support both undergraduate and post-graduate education … This adds a level of complexity in how we project and manage the budget, as well as how we get financial information out to our stakeholders.
Tisch College and Operations were new to me, so there was a lot to learn. Operations, in particular, is such a complicated organization — everything they do affects everybody else. Meanwhile, we are trying to make sure all the units, including the Cummings School, are getting the same level of service they got before the Budget Center opened.