The Fac­ulty Senate met Wednesday to dis­cuss Northeastern’s recently imple­mented hybrid bud­geting model and con­sider a new doc­toral pro­gram in pop­u­la­tion health.

Anthony Rini, the vice provost for budget, plan­ning and admin­is­tra­tion, led a dis­cus­sion on the hybrid bud­geting model—which moves most finan­cial deci­sions from the cen­tral uni­ver­sity admin­is­tra­tion to the col­lege level. The model, he explained, gives deans more con­trol over how they spend money, hire fac­ulty and pursue new pro­grams and initiatives.

In this model, deans decide how to allo­cate the funds in their unit and there is no tem­plate, rec­og­nizing the dif­ferent units in our uni­ver­sity are each unique,” Rini said.

Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, said the model acknowl­edges that there is a finite amount of funding that can come from the under­grad­uate stu­dent body and encour­ages col­leges to “grow the pie” through new rev­enue sources like research funding and increased grad­uate course offer­ings. For example, Larry Finkel­stein, dean of the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence, said his col­lege now gets less funding from under­grad­u­ates, about half of whom now pursue com­bined degree pro­grams. But he said the col­lege makes up for any short­fall with its increas­ingly pop­ular grad­uate programs.

Yet some fac­ulty mem­bers expressed worry that the model would leave them and col­leagues in their dis­ci­plines behind.

Some of us, espe­cially in the social sci­ences and human­i­ties, are con­cerned that there are small but impor­tant pri­or­i­ties that are dis­ad­van­taged in this model,” said Lori Lefkovitz, a pro­fessor of Eng­lish and the director of the Jewish Studies pro­gram.

Director and Rini said the model would be con­tin­u­ally tweaked.

The budget model was put in place to serve the aca­d­emic model, not to hinder it or get in its way. And of course it’s not per­fect,” Director said. “But it’s early on. It’s only been in place in most of the units for just over a year. We put upfront, right at the begin­ning, that it is going to evolve.”

At the meeting, the Senate also dis­cussed a new doc­toral pro­gram in pop­u­la­tion health in the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences. The inter­dis­ci­pli­nary PhD pro­gram looks beyond the bounds of public health to address soci­etal health con­cerns, focusing on ways to improve fields like cancer treat­ment or obe­sity pre­ven­tion on a broad level.

How­ever, some Senate mem­bers said dis­ci­plines like math­e­matics, law and biology were over­looked. Ter­ence Gaffney, a pro­fessor of math­e­matics, said the new pro­gram lacked a bio­sta­tis­tics com­po­nent that his depart­ment could have pro­vided. This, he said, exem­pli­fied why the method for deter­mining new degree pro­grams is flawed.

How­ever, Bruce Ronkin, vice provost for under­grad­uate edu­ca­tion, said each col­lege has a rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the coun­cils that eval­uate pro­posed degree pro­grams before they reach the Senate, a step that should pro­vide indi­vidual depart­ments with oppor­tu­ni­ties for input.

A move to table the new doc­toral program—an out­come Bouvé dean Terry Fulmer said would be “extremely damaging”—was later defeated after drawing sup­port from only two Senate mem­bers. The pro­gram was ulti­mately approved, with a friendly amend­ment that out­side depart­ments con­tinue to be con­sulted as the pro­gram is finalized.