Faculty creates website to explain budget

Monica Kast

The University Senate Budget and Finance Committee has created a website , wkumoney.wordpress.com which details the budget cuts, expenditures, revenue and issues at WKU, according to committee members.

Laura DeLancey, assistant professor of library technical services, serves as the library representative on the Budget and Finance Committee. She said the website is a “more user-friendly version of the information that is available.”

According to the website, it was created “as a place to start learning about WKU’s finances.”

DeLancey began serving on the committee last fall, and said she took over the website from Eric Reed, a professor in the history department and the interim dean of the Graduate School. DeLancey said Reed began creating a website last year, but had not made it public.

Reed said in an email the website is “meant to be a clearinghouse of information and perspective about budget issues for faculty and other interested parties.”

Reed said he has not participated in maintaining the site since DeLancey took it over, and said DeLancey has “given it a clean look and organized and reorganized the data to make it more useful for the visitors to the site.”

DeLancey said when she joined the committee, she began “revamping” the site, updating the information and adding graphs and visuals.

“The purpose of the website is that although all this information is available on the WKU website if you know where to look for it, it can be buried pretty deeply,” DeLancey said.

Claus Ernst, professor in the department of mathematics and chair of the budget and finance committee, said the website “allows people to get accurate information.”

“What we would like to accomplish is basically to have people be informed about budgetary issues,” Ernst said.

DeLancey also said the website tries to “explain what was complex in a simple way.”

Ernst and DeLancey both said the website will continue to be updated about budget and funding issues at WKU. Both cited the sports medicine complex as a current topic that would be added to the website.

Additionally, DeLancey said the website includes information and analyses that the Budget and Finance committee did of the WKU budget.

The website also has links to Budget and Finance committee reports. A major source for the website was a recent report done by the Budget and Finance analyzing WKU budgets since 2004. Ernst said this report is the “best source for anyone who wants to get a large-scale overview” of the budget.

Additionally, DeLancey said there are links to articles about funding and spending higher education, and comparisons between WKU and other schools’ funding, spending and compensation.

“A lot of the issues that we look at on our campus and that people talk about aren’t unique to WKU,” DeLancey said. “So athletics, compensation, student fees, buildings, all of that, these are going on everywhere. We try to put it in context.”

DeLancey said the committee received positive feedback about the website, and  those who viewed it found it helpful. She also said including “a student’s perspective” could be an addition to the website.

“We’d actually be very interested to hear from students, because I know that the finances of the university looks different from a student’s perspective,” DeLancey said. “If there is anything that students would want to see on there, I would love to include that.”

.Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @monicakastwku.