Planning in the CUNY Environment

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Robert Pignatello
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
Chair, Financial Planning Subcommittee

James Llana
Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
Chair, Strategic Planning Subcommittee


There is a broader planning context since the College is part of the CUNY system, and planning takes place as well within the framework of the CUNY Master Plan and policies. Much of the CUNY Master Plan is operationalized through the CUNY Performance Management Process (PMP) , a set of Goals and Targets proposed annually for all the constituent colleges. As a result of system-wide priorities, the College is accountable for its annually stated goals and targets in relation to the PMP main goals of raising academic quality, improving student success, and enhancing financial and management effectiveness. There is considerable leeway in how we adapt our local goals and activities to fit in the CUNY framework, but adapt we must. The CUNY PMP office reviews our goals and targets each summer. At the end of each year there is a reckoning when CUNY reports our progress against the targets and goals submitted a year earlier. Formal and informal comments go to the campus, and we must respond in writing to the areas of concern identified by the Chancellor. We share naturally many of the goals of the PMP which are straightforward indices of any successful institution of higher education, but there is no doubt that planning and activities at John Jay would be somewhat different without the PMP. Nonetheless, the PMP cycle is a highly effective means of communicating and monitoring the effectiveness of planning and resource allocation at the College; planning and management at John Jay take place in a very structured way within the system.

John Jay Master Plan: JohnJay@50

Discussion of the financial plan takes place in the context of developing programmatic priorities linked to progress on the John Jay Master Plan and, by extension, on the PMP. The College uses the Master Plan to guide activities and related resource allocations, and it relies on assessment to improve performance and planning. Annual progress against the Master Plan is recorded in the Master Plan Report Card.

The Annual Planning and Budgeting Cycle

The beginning of the budget planning cycle is the first spring semester meeting of SPS/FPS, the joint working subcommittees of the BPC. The starting point is the tentative financial plan created in the previous year as the second year in the required three-year submission to CUNY. Feedback from the previous year is important. The planning subcommittees have data to indicate progress within the Master Plan Report Card and a more comprehensive analysis of the Master Plan, and they have the PMP Year-End Report on CUNY website. Enrollment planning and projections are critical to shaping a financial plan since enrollment drives revenue. However, planning and budgeting must be integrated across all Divisions of the College.

Over the course of seven or eight meetings the group will hear from proponents of various programs. In early summer, the sub-committees will receive proposals from the Vice Presidents, and typically the faculty will collectively present a proposal. The cost of all the proposals combined will almost certainly exceed the available funding and so recommendations generated within the committees often take the form of subtractions, substitutions, or calls for slowing down the implementation of a new program. Sometime in the summer, well ahead of the University’s call for the plan, the SPS/FPS will approve by vote recommendations to be considered by the BPC. The larger committee will discuss the entire plan and make a recommendation to the President, who serves as Chair of the BPC. The President completes the cycle at the College by submitting a three-year balanced financial plan to CUNY. The process and its timeline are as follows:

Time Line


Information Available

CUNY/State Action


SPS/FPS begins meeting twice monthly to shape recommendations

· Progress reports from John Jay and CUNY Master Plans

Governor releases executive budget

· Early version of financial plan, submitted previous year

· Changes to financial plan that occurred subsequent to previous submission


Discussions continue and presentations made to SPS/FPS


State Adopts Budget


· Compact requirements from CUNY

CUNY announces Compact guidelines and amount


Vice Presidents develop strategies based on Master Plan and present to SPS/FPS.

· List of priorities from Vice Presidents presented

CUNY sends allocation letter

Budget Office presents

· PMP Preliminary Year-End report from CUNY appears

· PMP Targets and Goals set by JJ for following year


SPS/FPS votes on a set of recommendations

· PMP ranking determined

CUNY issues guidelines and call letter for financial plan

· PMP Final Year-End Report from CUNY appears

· feedback for improvement from CUNY


SPS/FPS present recommendations to BPC for discussion and vote


President submits Plan to CUNY

Approves or asks for changes