NEW BRUNSWICK FACULTY COUNCIL
Budget and Planning/Physical Plant Committee

Report on Costs to Academic Departments for Telecommunications
April 2006
 
This report concerns Charge #3 to the committee: “Examine the large costs to academic departments for telecommunications and copying and suggest ways that these costs to departments could be reduced.”
 
The committee has considered the issue of telecommunications costs. Because of new technologies (e.g., mobile phones, voice over IP) there is now a wide range of choice for telecommunication service and costs vary significantly according to options chosen. As departments have substantially different needs, we do not believe that there is a single choice of technology that should be imposed University-wide. However, under current policy, the ability of academic departments to choose service options and to benefit from any resulting cost savings is severely limited. This issue is addressed in the IT Strategic Plan, see lines 501-503 at the web-site
 
(https://sakai.rutgers.edu/access/content/group/fc10d880-cbc7-4a90-00b3-874bafa640c5/IT%20strategic%20plan%20public%20draft.pdf)
 
The committee recommends (in the proposed motion below) that the New Brunswick Faculty Council endorse following recommendation presented there:
 
“Charges for IT services should reflect actual costs and not include surcharges to fund other university initiatives, since this distorts the economics of IT decision making.”
 
The committee remarks that it should not be expected that the change described in this recommendation would, by itself, result in savings to departments, as the current surcharges go to funding activities that will still require funding. Thus the expectation is that, while expenses for telecommunications might decrease, funds budgeted for this could also be expected to decrease. Nevertheless, such a change would give departments incentive to adjust their telecommunications service in ways that satisfy their requirements and conserve their resources.
 
Proposed motion:
 
The IT Strategic Plan contains the recommendation “Charges for IT services should reflect actual costs and not include surcharges to fund other university initiatives, since this distorts the economics of IT decision making.”
 
The New Brunswick Faculty Council endorses this recommendation and believes that this policy would empower departments and other units of the University to adjust their telecommunications service appropriately and to benefit from any resulting economies.