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Multiple economic and political forces have driven universities to change how they fund and finance education and research during the last 50 to 60 years. The advent of Responsibility Center Management (RCM) in the late 1970s and early 1980s coincided with a poor economy that had adverse impacts on investments, employment, and state revenues. Similarly, the economic recession of 2008—and its lasting effects—prompted many universities to seek greater efficiencies and unleash their entrepreneurs by implementing an RCM system.
Authors John R. Curry, Andrew L. Laws and Jon C. Strauss describe the many nuances and techniques institutions can use to implement RCM in this newly revised second edition. They explain that with the right design and active management, RCM can live up to its promises of clarifying roles and responsibilities between local and central units, coupling responsibility with authority, and linking cause and effect through revenue and indirect cost allocations. Along the way, RCM creates a new relationship between the chief business officer and provost. Because RCM allocates new authority and responsibility to provosts and their deans, the accountability line between them is crucial to academic and operational success managed by the chief business officer.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
John R. Curry is a Managing Director in Huron Consulting Group’s higher education practice where he works with clients to develop incentive-based budgeting, assess organizational effectiveness, and create operational efficiencies.Before joining Huron in 2005, John served as executive vice president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and prior to that was Vice President for Business and Finance at Caltech, Administrative Vice Chancellor and CFO at UCLA, and Vice President for Budget and Planning at USC. The author of numerous articles on Responsibility Center Management, implementation of enterprise software systems, and integrating budgeting with balance sheet planning, he holds a BA in physics and an MA in mathematics from West Virginia University, completed doctoral coursework in mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, and was an NIMH Fellow in Organizational Research at Stanford.
Andrew L. Laws is a Managing Director in Huron Consulting Group’s higher education practice.Andrew has worked with over 30 institutions, helping them develop approaches for maximizing, allocating and leveraging financial resources. Andrew specializes in designing budget models which use incentives to drive behaviors and focus resources on institutional strategies. Andrew speaks frequently on financial trends in higher education and he is a faculty member in Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Higher Education Management. Andrew received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi, his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and his Doctor of Education from Vanderbilt University.
Jon C. Strauss is the President of Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. Previously, Dr. Strauss was the interim dean of engineering at Texas Tech University. He is a former member of and current consultant to the National Science Board, and before his time at Tech, he served as President of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in 2008-2009. Strauss was the fourth president of Harvey Mudd College, serving in that position from March 1997 to June 2006. Prior to Harvey Mudd, he was the Chief Financial Officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Strauss also served as the thirteenth president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1985 to 1994. Over the years Strauss has also served as Senior Vice-President of the University of Southern California and Vice President for Budget and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. Strauss received his PhD in electrical engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, his masters in physics from the University of Pittsburgh, and his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.