For years, the University of Rhode Island’s budget process took place largely out of sight.
With some input from faculty members, departmental budget requests were hashed out by longtime President Robert Carothers, who after 18 years in the position was versed on the school’s financial needs. Robert Weygand, URI’s vice president for administration, said Carothers’ methods worked well, particularly as the state’s dwindling appropriations strained the school’s budget.
But the process has changed now that David M. Dooley replaced the retired Carothers.
Budget requests are now aired publicly by a committee of administrators, faculty and students, who then make recommendations to Dooley. “It brings the campus much more into the budget process,” Weygand said last week. “It’s a transparent, more open process.”
As URI celebrates Dooley’s inauguration this week, observers say the school’s overhauled budget procedures are an example of the initial stamp Dooley has put on his tenure here.
Those familiar with Dooley, 57, previously the provost at Montana State University, say he has strived to be accessible and open, and he has looked to solidify partnerships with the state’s business community and with other universities and colleges.
“David is so collaborative,” said Ray M. Di Pasquale, the state’s commissioner of higher education and president of the Community College of Rhode Island. “He listens, and he’s responsive. David is very engaging.”
Higher education officials say Dooley has spearheaded a proposal to construct a $60 million nursing building in Providence that would be shared by URI and Rhode Island College. Dooley has proposed that URI, RIC and CCRI collaborate on a comprehensive distance learning program online, Di Pasquale said.
In an interview with Providence Business News last year, Dooley revealed that he wanted to join forces with Brown University in allowing students to cross-register for classes.
More recently, he has reached out to the state’s corporate leaders, visiting with high-level executives at places such as Hasbro Inc. and Toray Plastics Inc.