Article by Kate Oliver; Photo courtesy of Natalie Webb
Bardomina Lopez, a Financial Analyst for the Naval Postgraduate (NPS) School Dudley Knox Library has spent the past six years managing the library’s budget and analyzing library resource usage to determine how money should best be allocated. These aspects of her job made her an ideal candidate to attend the first-ever Defense Resources Management Institute’s (DRMI) Performance Management and Budgeting course, which ran April 4-8, 2011.
The course, which focuses on tying top-level goals and objectives of organizations to measurable performance outputs and outcomes, aims to send participants back to their organizations with practical and implementable techniques. This is achieved by having participants tackle a project throughout the week that pulls data directly from their organization.
“Through the course, I was able to clearly identify the library’s customers and their primary needs,” Lopez said. “I was then able to tie those in to the budget and resources in order to better focus on meeting the library’s vision and mission statement.”
The Dudley Knox Library focuses on supporting student, faculty and staff research at NPS, primarily by providing access to books, periodicals, and electronic databases. The library also offers direct research support and conducts a number of courses highlighting research best practices for graduate studies.
Twenty-three U.S., Pakistani, Israeli and Saudi Arabian officials participated in the new DRMI course along with Lopez, which was held at the NPS Monterey campus. The course was designed and taught by professors at DRMI, an NPS institute that specializes in analytical decision-making for resources management for U.S. and international military officers and government officials.
“It was so interesting to work with the international participants, who came from a variety of countries and types of organizations,” said Lopez. “The course managed to connect us all together by tying back to what we all do in one capacity or another – resource allocation and budgeting. What was great, was the project for the course was based on each of our individual jobs, so we could focus directly on how to improve things in our own organization.”
Natalie Webb, Associate Professor of Economics at DRMI and one of the course creators, said the course began at the request of past DRMI participants. Many DRMI courses include a short section of instruction that introduces the basic ideas of performance management and budgeting, but do not deeply explore the issue.
“The participants from our other courses were asking for a more in-depth course on the topic,” said Webb. “Some of them said they would be willing to come back for an additional course that focused on just that aspect of resources management. I got together with my colleague who teaches the section with me, and we developed an intensive, one-week course.”
Webb noted this one-week course, like most DRMI short courses, is ideal for busy officials who often have trouble staying away from the office for extended periods of time.
“The library management was really supportive of my attendance. They were able to see how this opportunity would enable me to better do my job,” said Lopez. “Also, because of my involvement in the course, Natalie offered DRMI’s continued support in improving the library’s ability to utilize our resources to best meet our customers’ needs. DKL management is definitely looking forward to that ongoing connection, which will focus on how to best accomplish our mission.”
DRMI, a Department of Defense sponsored activity, has focused on teaching professional education courses in management, economics and quantitative reasoning since its inception in 1965. Webb said because of the positive participant response, DRMI will offer the Performance Management and Budgeting course twice in 2012. For more information about this course and others please visit www.nps.edu/drmi.