Release the hounds

We're considering adopting an RCM model.  It's appealing in theory, but it requires entrepreneurial and business-minded deans in order to be successful.  Continuing educators, who are often self-supporting, have long operated in this fashion.  But I've heard there's often a big turnover with deans when the model takes over.  Not everyone is a fan.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Colleges 'Unleash the Deans' With Decentralized Budgets
The decentralized budget model adopted by Oregon has a long history at some elite institutions and often goes by a jargony name: Responsibility Center Management, or RCM. But it's likely to be increasingly familiar. In recent years, as institutions have struggled with financial pressures amid declining sources of revenue, many more administrators have pushed RCM to "unleash the deans," as the budget model’s advocates like to put it: to give deans and the professors under them a financial incentive to cut costs, find new sources of revenue, and think more strategically about where the college is headed. 
Since 2000, the responsibility-center approach has spread across sectors. Iowa State, Ohio, Rutgers, and Texas Tech Universities have adopted it; so have the Universities of Florida, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Northeastern and Syracuse Universities are among private institutions to have made the move. 
In theory, Responsibility Center Management has an elegant simplicity: A university calculates its revenues and expenses, allocating them to its various colleges and other divisions. Each unit brings in money—through tuition, grants, philanthropy, and other means—and pays "taxes" to the central administration to cover shared services, like the facilities Mr. Foley started tracking at Oregon, plus admissions, student affairs, and so on. 
If a college draws in students or otherwise rakes in money, it gets to keep that for expansion or strategic investments. Colleges with few students or high costs remain poor. For almost two centuries, Harvard University has exemplified this approach, which requires "every tub to stand on its own bottom," as a president put it in the 1800s, adapting a line from The Pilgrim’s Progress
It's a budget model that seems to fit the spirit of the times, given the focus on enterprise amid economic decline. "At a time of lean budgets and difficult decisions, people think of RCM as a way to make clear why they get money when they get money," says David Attis, senior director of academic research at the Education Advisory Board, who studies the model. It has become a popular topic of discussion among institutions, he says, something of a "religion" in higher education, attracting converts.


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