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Resource Planning Process Overview

The overall Resource Planning Process is depicted in the Northwestern Resource Planning Process MapUniversity priorities guide the Resource Planning Process. These priorities inform school/unit strategies, which shape the financial plans and incremental resource requests.  

Given the University's incremental budgeting model, we expect schools and units to make strategic investments within the bounds of their existing budgets. University priorities will closely guide any such investments.

We will be focusing our FY 2024 incremental funding in the areas of:

  • Targeted and strategic investments to ensure the University attracts, develops and retains our critical talent; retaining our faculty and staff are a top priority.
  • Enhancement of our intellectual eminence through high-impact investments to drive the intellectual agenda in top-ranking and cusp departments and key interdisciplinary areas.
  • Continued funding of priority needs to maintain the health and safety of our community during the pandemic.

Resource Planning Timeline

This year's process and timeline will largely follow the timeline developed last year.

The Resource Planning Process includes a set of strategy meetings with schools and select administrative units, which will occur this winter. The strategy meetings will inform the Provost's allocation decisions and development of the overall University budget. 

To summarize, the Resource Planning Process includes:

  • Quarterly Schools/units submit current year urgent resource requests
  • November – February - Schools/units identify their highest priority FY 2024 requests for incremental operating and capital resources and submit them to the Office of Budget and Planning
  • January - Strategy meetings are held for schools and select units
  • January – April – High-priority incremental operating and capital resource requests are considered as part of the University resource planning process; resource allocations are recommended by the Resource Planning Workgroup and endorsed by the Provost and President.
  • April – June - FY 2024 preliminary management budgets are shared with schools/units.
  • June – Board of Trustees determines final approval for the University's operating and capital budgets. FY 2024 final management budgets and capital allocations are shared with schools/units.

  Additional details are included on the Operating Resources and Capital Resources pages.

Resource Planning Workgroup 

The Resource Planning Workgroup synthesizes school/unit strategies, financial plans, and resource requests. It recommends to the President and Provost a set of operating and capital resource allocations for endorsement.

The Resource Planning Workgroup includes: 

  • Provost 
  • Executive Vice President 
  • Office of the Provost designee 
  • Office of Budget and Planning designee 
  • Organizational Strategy and Change designee 
  • Office of Administration and Planning designee 

The Resource Planning Workgroup utilizes the following criteria when assessing and prioritizing all resource requests: 

  • How well does the request align with University priorities? 
  • How well does the request align with the school/unit's strategy and financial plan? 
  • How well does the request align with the financial position of the University? 
  • What is the proposed composition of funding sources (i.e., across school/unit and central resources)? 

Approvals and Decisions 

The Resource Planning Process enables efficient and transparent review and decision-making to optimize stewardship of Northwestern's resources. Operating and capital resource requests go through several stages of review and approvals, as shown in the process map linked above. This ensures that school/unit needs are reviewed and prioritized systematically in the context of institutional priorities, needs, and financial position.

Preliminary management budgets will be shared in the spring quarter. Final management budgets will be provided following the Board of Trustees' final approval of the University's operating and capital budgets in June. In-year resource requests are communicated quarterly via an updated Resource Allocation letter from the Provost.