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Academic Budget Planning

professor and student doing research

What is the Academic Budget Planning Initiative?

The immediate goal of this initiative is to develop a predictable, curricula-driven Academic Budget one year prior to the start of the academic year (when class scheduling and instructor commitments need to be made). In practice, this means we will be seeking the input and support of faculty and staff engaged in planning the curriculum.

Our hope is that by institutionalizing this forward-looking process over the long term, the campus will be better able to achieve its vision of modernizing its processes and supporting talented students and faculty – while remaining fiscally responsible.

By design, this will be a highly consultative and collaborative process led by the deans and implemented by department chairs and school staff responsible for curriculum management and the instructional budget.

What Are the Main Objectives of This Program?

The new Academic Budget Planning Process represents the work of the Budget Working Group and is designed to achieve the following four objectives:

  1. To allocate the academic budget one year prior to the start of the academic year (when curriculum and instructor commitments need to be made)
  2. To create an academic budget that is predictable and ties to curricular goals
  3. To create a rational process for requesting or augmenting the academic budget
  4. To improve the flexibility for the schools and departments to make decisions about where resources are needed most.


In Fall 2017, the Chancellor and the Chair of the Academic Senate hosted an academic retreat in order to identify key areas of improvement within UC Merced’s academic operations. At the retreat, Academic Budgeting was identified as one of the priorities.

timeline of academic budget

Cross-functional working groups were then convened to design and draft policy and process improvements and The Budget Working Group was specifically tasked with modernizing the Academic Budget process, starting with the Instructional Budget.

In Spring 2018, baseline academic budgets for AY 2018-19 were developed by a subcommittee of the Budget Working Group in collaboration with the deans of undergraduate and graduate education as well as the dean of each school and their staff. These were finalized on July 1, 2018 and reflect the permanent (Senate faculty) and temporary (Unit 18 Lecturers and Graduate Teaching Assistants) instructional budget at the school and department level.