Office of Planning & Budgeting

Committees and reports

Activity-based budgeting (ABB) was implemented as part of a university initiative to create a more transparent budgeting model. Over the last several years, the Provost has chartered a series of committees to make recommendations, from how to structure the ABB model to what changes will be needed after its inception.

Below is a summary of the key findings of each committee (listed in descending chronological order).

ABB Phase IV Review (2024)

In January 2024, Provost Tricia Serio charged the ABB Phase IV Steering Committee.

In March 2024, the Steering Committee further charged two subcommittees:

In April 2024, the Steering Committee charged a third subcommittee:

Weekly high level updates are available on SharePoint (UW NetID log in required)

ABB Phase III Review (2019 – 2020)

Beginning January 2019, the Office of Planning & Budgeting (OPB) worked with the Senate Committee on Planning & Budgeting (SCPB), Board of Deans and Chancellors (BODC) and school/college academic administrators to strategize an approach for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 ABB Phase III review. As part of the scoping and planning process, OPB facilitated an exercise with each group, asking questions around areas of focus for the work.

In August 2019, the Provost charged a steering committee with formulating the overall ABB Phase III Review work plan, project scope and deliverables. In addition to outlining the charge and suggesting a timeline for the work, the Provost also directed three subcommittees — the Supplement Subcommittee, Tuition Taxation and Formulae Subcommittee and Research Support Subcommittee — to provide preliminary analysis and recommendations to the steering committee during the fall quarter.

A summary presentation of these reports prepared for the BODC can be found here.

At the end of February 2020, the steering committee completed a preliminary report summarizing the findings and recommendations from each subcommittee: Preliminary ABB Phase III evaluation and recommendations.

In April 2020, the steering committee submitted its final report with recommendations to the Provost: ABB Phase III evaluation and recommendations.

The Provost accepted the steering committee’s recommendations in his letter to campus: ABB Phase III recommendations final Provost response.


February 2021 Update: The ABB Steering Committee recommended better balance between the formulaic and discretionary portions of ABB as the prospect of significant economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic were not yet known. In September 2020, FY21 budget cuts, taken on the whole base of unit supplement funding, were enacted and the prospect of additional economic impacts from the pandemic will weigh into consultative processes and decisions regarding the timing of establishing a values-based supplement pool.

September 2021 Update: After consultations with stakeholders, Provost Richards announced the implementation of the recommended values-based funding pool for FY22, with the anticipation of distributing the first pool to Seattle academic units as temporary budget authority in FY23.

Read the Provost’s September 16, 2021 letter:  PDF version, Word version

Research Support

February 2021 Updates: While the ABB Steering committee found that there was not currently enough evidence to recommend a change to the ICR distribution formulae, a broader effort is needed to improve data resources and assess central services and taxation levels. OPB and other administrative units are committed to undertaking this work after go-live of the Workday Finance platform and remediation of the HR/P platform.

Tuition Formulae and Taxation

February 2021 Updates: OPB conducted a taxation and overhead survey in the summer of 2020 and is in regular communication with campus administrators regarding the timing of further work. We anticipate synchronizing the ABB tuition taxation review with the research support review once we have adequate staff time for such an endeavor, most likely after we go live with Workday Financials.

ABB Oversight Committee (2017 – 2018)

In January 2017, the Provost charged a new committee to address issues until the next major ABB review occurred in FY20. The new committee spent the spring months working through the charge. The final report from this committee can be found here.

In December 2017, upon recommendation of the oversight committee, the Provost charged a Joint Taskforce on Supplement Distribution to review and reconsider how supplement funds are distributed to units through ABB. The final report with recommendations can be found here.

ABB Phase II Committee (2016)

In February, the Provost charged an ABB Phase II Committee with looking at the concerns expressed by the ABB Review Committee.

In early April, OPB met the BODC to provide an update on the ABB Phase II Committee’s work and share their findings and initial recommendations on the tasks assigned to them. The following materials were shared at the meeting:

After a comment period for faculty, deans, staff and students to review a draft report, in late July the ABB Phase II Committee released a final report, which included recommendations for improving the ABB model. The report was sent to the Provost, who accepted the recommendations in December, and the ABB model changes took effect in FY18.

ABB Review Committee and Faculty Council Reports (2012-2015)

When the University adopted the ABB model in 2012, it made a commitment to leave the basic elements in place for five years in order to understand the consequences of ABB as it was initially structured. In the meantime, it formed an ABB Review Committee to monitor and review the current model and provide recommendations about possible changes.

The Provost and the President took the review committee’s recommendations into consideration, and in July 2015, the Provost charged faculty committees with investigating four areas of academic life that were imperfectly addressed by the current budget model. Following are the committee charge letters and final reports:

The ABB Review Committee suggested that a survey be sent to deans, administrators and faculty leaders so they could provide feedback about ABB and make suggestions on the scope of the Phase II committee work. The survey was released in early January 2016. The results of the survey are available here.

Original ABB Committee Work (2009-2011)

Initially, the ABB Steering Committee looked at other institutions that had implemented a similar budget structure:

The committee then recommended that UW adopt and implement the ABB model. Following are links to materials from the implementation phase: