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Archive for Wednesday, December 2, 2009

KU officials say budget cuts could affect degree programs

Furlough policy announced, degree programs examined

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and other KU administrators told an audience Wednesday to continue to expect difficult cuts in the future. Having already eliminated 200 positions, some of which came through layoffs, KU now faces another round of cuts from the state, along with grim projections continuing through 2011. Though administrators said no furloughs were needed under current assumptions about the budget, KU announced a policy Wednesday showing how they might be implemented.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and other KU administrators told an audience Wednesday to continue to expect difficult cuts in the future. Having already eliminated 200 positions, some of which came through layoffs, KU now faces another round of cuts from the state, along with grim projections continuing through 2011. Though administrators said no furloughs were needed under current assumptions about the budget, KU announced a policy Wednesday showing how they might be implemented.

December 2, 2009, 3:21 p.m. Updated December 2, 2009, 5:15 p.m.

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KU officials say budget cuts could affect degree programs

Still awaiting their most recent round of budget cuts, Kansas University administrators told an audience Wednesday to continue to expect difficult cuts in the future. Enlarge video

Still awaiting their most recent round of budget cuts, Kansas University administrators told an audience Wednesday to continue to expect difficult cuts in the future.

Having already eliminated 200 positions — some of which came through layoffs — KU now faces another cut from the state, along with grim projections continuing through 2011.

Kip Peterson, a spokesman for the Kansas Board of Regents, said the board will determine during its Dec. 16-17 meeting how much each institution will have to absorb of the recently announced $2 million higher education cut.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said the cuts have far-reaching implications, and have affected the university’s pursuit of National Cancer Institute designation.

“To the extent that our ability to hire faculty is diminished by the cuts, then our ability to recruit people who can build up our research program — that’s the way in which it will have a negative effect on our cancer program,” Gray-Little said after a forum Wednesday that focused on the university’s financial situation.

KU hasn’t yet received its most recent target for budget cuts following the November budget reductions, so no new cuts were announced Wednesday. However, KU leaders did provide some insight into how ongoing cuts may be made, to go along with the already larger class sizes and fewer class sections currently in place at KU.

• Marking a change from previous budget sessions, Danny Anderson, KU’s interim provost, said that the situation now required KU to examine its degree programs along with other academic support and business programs for possible reductions, eliminations or reorganizations. He said it had been 17 years since KU last identified programs that were no longer meeting its needs.

• Though administrators said no furloughs were needed under current assumptions about the budget, KU announced a policy Wednesday showing how they might be implemented. The policy said that those employees making higher salaries would shoulder more of the burden, but said any specifics would be determined by how much money must be cut from the university’s budget.

• The university will continue to examine how tuition increases can mitigate some budget cuts, but will do so looking at factors such as whether tuition increases could mean fewer students would attend KU.

On the Lawrence campus — even before upcoming cuts are taken into account — the university is dealing with less money than it had in the 2006 fiscal year.

Kathy Damron, KU’s state lobbyist, said that there has been a shift in recent weeks as legislators begin to talk about ways to increase state revenue, rather than just focusing on new ways to cut.

“I think you’re going to see a state Legislature that will look at everything again next year,” she said.

Shawn Saving, a GIS specialist with the Kansas Geological Survey, after the forum argued for legislators to hold the line on education funding.

“You can’t continue to cut education, which is — as the governor seems to agree — is the basis for what’s going to be our economic rejuvenation,” Saving said. “This is what will get us out of this, and you can’t go cutting the very thing that’s going to help us actually get our economy back together.”

Like others at the forum, Saving said he thought that KU administrators had been open and forthcoming about the strategies they were trying to implement.

Betty Pickerel, an administrative assistant with the Global Indigenous Nations Studies program at KU, also praised university administrators.

“These people are very transparent and very helpful,” she said. “I think they’ve taken very important steps to alleviate concerns.”

Still, she said, previous cuts have been painful.

“I know there are people who have found work, and people who haven’t,” after some KU employees were laid off, she said. “For those who haven’t, it’s hard.”

Comments

gccs14r 5 years ago

Time to close at least one Regents institution. No sense in having six mediocre institutions, when there could be five good ones.

MyName 5 years ago

I don't know that closing an institution, which would take years, will do much to solve a situation happening right now.

wastewatcher 5 years ago

Why cut programs when the Regents can afford to pay three retired Presidents about $1,000,000.00 to do nothing. When will the Regents explain this to the public. Will the Regents open their books and operations to a citizens review so we the public can find the waste and excess in their noperations?

gccs14r 5 years ago

It won't help immediately, but anyone who thinks our budget problems are going to get better hasn't been paying attention. The U.S. is on the way down, so we'd better start planning for a much more frugal existence now.

stlcards515 5 years ago

"Few degree programs is a great idea and long over due. Communications degrees are among the worst. English is not far behind. So many students graduate and there are no jobs available in their field. Universities should reduce the supply to match the demand." toe

Contrary to popular belief, getting an education means more than finding a lucrative job.

stlcards515 5 years ago

Also on another note, COMS and English are two of the most competitive majors to get into at KU.

compmd 5 years ago

"Contrary to popular belief, getting an education means more than finding a lucrative job."

I might loathe the Cardinals, but I must give credit where it is due: this might be the most intelligent line ever posted in the LJWorld comments.

SnakeFist 5 years ago

“Contrary to popular belief, getting an education means more than finding a lucrative job.”

Except that the cost of getting an education has become so onerous that it can only be justified as a financial investment. A degree in english (and several other fields) is not a sound investment, especially when it costs just as much as a degree in science. A three credit hour class costs approximately $700 for tuition and books, so I can't justify taking any class that doesn't count toward graduation in a field that provides reasonably good job prospects and salaries.

backyardwino 5 years ago

Toe: If someone wants to make money--they should go make money. If they want to learn about english, or rhetoric, or communication, or art--so be it. The wealthiest person in the world didn't complete a degree and nowhere on my diplomas does it say I will be employed, gainfully, and my piggy bank flush. Classes and degrees do not make one wealthy, instead they make one rich. Lately, our society has been overrun with bankrupt ex-CEO's, so maybe we should shut down the Business School for a while??

Boeing 5 years ago

Backyardwino - I am no business person, but I want to defend the B school.

Ken Lay - studied Economics (at Mizzou, which explains a lot). At KU, that's part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, not the B School

Jeffrey Skilling - got an MBA, but his undergrad was in science...also, at KU, in the CLAS, not B School

Bernard Ebbers (WorldCom/MCI) - got his bachelors in Kinesiology, FAR from anything business related. In fact, nothing business related is on his education history, if I remember the facts right.

So, you see, scumbags come from all over. If anything else, we need to make more classes teaching business ethics in the business school

SnakeFist 5 years ago

"Classes and degrees do not make one wealthy, instead they make one rich."

A wonderful platitude. I wonder whether any studies have examined "degree satisfaction" several years after graduation. Are people with art history degrees, for example, happy with their choice ten years after graduation, i.e., once they've realized they spent $40k for a degree that qualifies them to work at Walmart?

What's the point of pursuing a subject you love (as opposed to a subject that will pay the rent), if there is no real-world application for that subject? What's the point of spending four years learning about something you love, only to spend the next forty years working at a job you hate?

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Shame, shame, shame on KU alumni for letting this happen to their school. Millions of dollars in donations flood into the sports program for state of the art athletic facilities, arena renovations and million dollar coach contracts. It says a lot that Bill Self makes more money than Bernadette Gray-Little. Yes the Regents have much to answer for but so do the alumni.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years ago

"COMS and English are two of the most competitive majors to get into at KU"

And they are the programs that best prepare people for careers in law.

pace 5 years ago

furloughs ..."KU announced a policy Wednesday showing how they might be implemented."

I looked for a description of the policy and couldn't find it in this story. It might of been in the video, but the audio was so low I couldn't hear it. Anyone know where I could read the details.

If you are looking for a job, the big four, can you write, can you communicate, will you show up? Oops, maybe it is the math degrees that can be axed.

ahyland 5 years ago

pace (and anyone else who's curious),

Here's the furlough policy as approved by KU:

https://documents.ku.edu/policies/provost/Furlough.htm

Thanks for reading, and hope that answers any questions you may have.

Andy Hyland KU reporter

timetospeakup 5 years ago

as usual pace, the ljworld editors don't give us any details. why, editors?

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

The State of Kansas is becoming less and less important to KU. KU is on the way to becoming a private university.

KU should just raise tuition and say "no thanks" to the ever-diminishing pittance the state throws its way.

volunteer 5 years ago

How about an evaluation of the necessity of the Provost for Diversity and the bureaucracy accompanying that position.

The public schools are grudgingly reducing some "central office" personnel. It would be refreshing to read of corresponding "Administrative" cuts at KU. With details like which Administrative positions were combined or eliminated.

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