Chancellor Doug Kristensen
University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen announced today UNK’s recommended budget reductions that have been identified to accommodate the latest round of appropriations cuts for FY 2003 and beyond. UNK’s share of the mandated University reductions for this fiscal year amounts to $1.2 million.
Chancellor Kristensen said, “By July 1, 2003, we must reduce our permanent budget by that amount. These cuts come “on top of” last year’s reductions, which have been announced earlier.”
The following is the memo sent by Chancellor Doug Kristensen to faculty and staff at the University of Nebraska at Kearney this morning:
Under the principles and procedures developed to govern this year’s round of reductions, the Administrative Council and I have been studying our options since July 1st. And even prior to that date, under guidance issued by former Chancellor Johnston, unit managers had begun to plan how to cope with major reductions in the current fiscal year. After extended analysis and consultation, we have developed a set of proposed recommendations that is now ready for further analysis and discussion by the UNK community. In conjunction with this public announcement I have briefed leaders of the faculty senate, staff senate, the UNKEA, and student government, among others. Now it is time to lay out the recommendations for wider input.
Our established procedures envision that during the next two weeks all concerned members of the UNK community will evaluate these proposals and provide us feedback. Over the next two weeks my colleagues and I anticipate participating in campus forums to hear that response. Individuals can also, of course, provide us input directly, by e-mail and other means, in a comment period that will extend through September 24. When we have concluded that dialogue, I will finalize my recommended reductions package by September 30. Some courses of action may involve further referrals and/or regental review, and we will comply with all such requirements before going forward.
In identifying the FY 03 reductions amounting to $1.2 million, we first composed a list of “short-term” ways that we can reduce spending in this fiscal year. This is essentially a “coping” tactic, to reduce spending quickly. These proposals are summarized on the attached table entitled “Short Term Budget Reductions. ” We then identified ways we can reduce the budget permanently by July 1, 2003. These are shown on list entitled: “Permanent Budget Reductions.” In a few cases, measures taken to reduce spending in the current year also appear on the permanent list, because we believe can or should take “permanent” action quickly.
You will note that the cuts featured on the “short-term” list amount to the reduction target exactly. By contrast, the reductions shown on the “permanent” list total about $85,000 more than the mandated target requires. That is simply to provide us some degree of flexibility to accommodate campus feedback about particular initiatives.
I think it is important that we describe the initiatives on both lists clearly, to facilitate campus appraisal of them. To that end, I would offer a few explanatory remarks as follows.
“Short-term” FY 02-03 Reductions
A. Funds Carried Forward from FY 02 in Anticipation of Reductions
Last March Chancellor Johnston began consulting formally with her administrative team about the deepening statewide fiscal crisis. During the ensuing discussion, as the economic forecasts became more serious, she directed each member of the Administrative Council to prepare for a major reduction in FY 02-03. Unit managers were thus able to anticipate the current reduction * and to moderate its impact * by foregoing some expenditures last year. As a result, we are able to commit $615,000 from funds carried forward to this year (but budgeted for expenditure last year). The savings we realized came at some considerable operational cost: some faculty and staff positions were held open; upgrades of information technology equipment were delayed; other equipment purchases were suspended; deferred maintenance projects were further postponed. While each of these measures involved considerable sacrifice, the result is that a substantial part of our immediate reduction for this year has already been provided, by earlier prudent planning. Steps taken by major campus units were as follows.
Chancellor: Information Technology Services deferred some network infrastructure upgrades that would have provided improved and more reliable service to the campus.
College of Education: Deferred upgrades of 25+ computers for faculty members and postponed improvement of facilities in Cushing Coliseum.
College of Business and Technology: Did not upgrade 20+ computers for faculty members and postponed equipment purchases for the ITEC and Interior Design programs.
College of Natural and Social Sciences: Did not upgrade 25+ computers for faculty members and postponed equipment purchases for equipment intensive programs.
College of Fine Arts and Humanities: Postponed filling two faculty positions (in art and music).
Library: Reduced purchases of books and periodicals for the year.
Continuing Education: Postponed hiring an instructional designer to work with faculty on web-based courses.
Business Affairs: Postponed filling two custodial positions.
University Relations: Postponed filling a management position in publications.
Student Life: Postponed hiring a Learning Center Director
B. The Center for Excellence in Leadership
We had planned to launch a new initiative this year, housed in the College of Business & Technology, that would bring to the campus leaders in a variety of fields to interact with faculty and students. In our current circumstances, with existing programs under considerable funding pressure, it does not appear prudent to establish this new Center. Our proposal thus contemplates suspending this initiative until the state funding situation improves, or perhaps until outside sponsorship can be found.
C. Anticipated Salary Savings
As unit managers look ahead, they can anticipate certain position vacancies this year. We have decided to hold such vacancies open temporarily (for the current year) so that we can apply the salary savings to our expenditure reduction target.
Chancellor: I have decided to eliminate a staff position, the Special Projects Director, and to reassign the responsibilities of that office to the Department of Communication. Because this is a permanent reduction that will be effective soon (allowing for reasonable notice), this will produce salary savings both in the current year and in future years.
College of Education: postponed filling a position in the Teacher Education Program for this year.
College of Business and Technology: Postponed filling a position in the Industrial Technology Department for this year.
College of Natural and Social Sciences: Postponed filling a position in the Geography Department for this year.
College of Fine Arts and Humanities: Reduced the use of adjunct faculty in a number of departments to generate salary savings. The college also will not fill the positions in art and music.
Continuing Education: Will use fewer adjunct faculty to teach off-campus courses
Business Affairs: Will postpone filling vacancies in custodial, grounds and management in order to capture vacancy savings
University Relations: Will postpone filling the now-vacant position of Director of Printing and Publications.
Student Life: Will postpone filling a vacancy in order to capture vacancy savings
D. Reduce Benefits Budget
The reduced payroll outlays that result from position vacancies will produce savings in our benefits account * essentially the retirement and social security payments that would otherwise be made to employees. We are capturing these savings to contribute to our reduction target in the current year.
E. Temporary Delay of Equipment Purchases
The final item on the short-term list is a temporary delay in equipment purchases. Again, we anticipate postponing upgrades in our technology infrastructure and some academic equipment purchases. This will naturally require greater attention to repair and maintenance of current equipment, and it will defer replacement purchases and investment in improvements.
Chancellor: Information Technology Services will defer network equipment upgrades.
College of Education: will delay purchase of equipment for the Human Performance Lab and the Speech Science Lab.
College of Business and Technology: will postpone purchase of computers for faculty.
College of Natural and Social Sciences: will not upgrade computers for faculty and will postpone equipment purchases for equipment intensive programs.
College of Fine Arts and Humanities: will not upgrade faculty computers.
Permanent Reductions * FY 03-04 And Beyond
The permanent reduction proposals, which will be effective on July 1, 2003, include some significant actions with respect to offices that report directly to the Chancellor’s Office. As indicated earlier, I will eliminate a Special Projects position and reorganize the Communications Office to absorb that function.
Within Information Technology Services, we will reduce the operating budget, some student workers now funded by state monies (others will remain, funded by our student technology fee), and a night operator (nighttime support will thereafter be provided by students). After considering advice from Walter Weir, we will also discontinue our membership in the Gartner Group.
Finally, I will commission a new review of intercollegiate athletics, envisioning a substantial reorganization that will reduce state support for that department by $50,000. I plan to conduct this review with the assistance of our Athletic Oversight Committee, members of which include Regent Don Blank and Kearney Mayor Pete Kotsiopulos.
In Academic Affairs, every college will make significant reductions while preserving investments in core functions. The proposed reductions would restructure the College of Natural and Social Sciences and the Division of Continuing Education. With respect to Continuing Education, we would eliminate direct support for College Park in Grand Island and the center in North Platte. The proposal would also reduce our materials budget in the Calvin T. Ryan Library and our support for the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Museum of Nebraska Art. The MONA reduction will place a premium, going forward, on external fundraising for this important community resource. The outlines of the proposal, overall and by major academic unit, are as follows.
Some selective program/degree reductions, based on demand factors.
Administrative streamlining and consolidation.
Minimized (marginal) reductions in on-campus course offerings.
Strategic transition to modernized course delivery off-campus.
No forced departure of tenured faculty.
College of Education
A faculty member with the rank of assistant professor will replace a retiring senior faculty member in Communication Disorders. The salary savings will be contributed to the permanent budget cut. This will reduce fiscal flexibility in the College but will assure continued course offerings.
The Adaptive Physical Education Graduate Program will be eliminated, and the faculty member now teaching in this program will be reassigned to the general PE program until retirement. The budget reduction funds will be derived temporarily from another position that will not be filled until the transferred faculty member retires.
College of Business and Technology
A lecturer will replace a senior tenured faculty member in Management. The salary difference will be contributed to the permanent cut. This will complicate our AACSB accreditation effort, but needed course offerings will continue.
Funding for the Director’s position at the Center for Research and Development will be shifted from state monies to revolving funds derived from charges for Center services. This will transfer support burdens directly to the Center’s customers.
College of Natural and Social Sciences
The College will consolidate the management of existing departments, resulting in fewer department chair and secretary positions. Some chair and secretarial duties will thus increase in scope, but overall administration within the College will be streamlined.
The College will eliminate the Mathematics MSED Program and Statistics and Actuarial Science majors. A currently open faculty position in mathematics will be eliminated. This will reduce course offerings for mathematics students and slightly increase teaching loads in some remaining courses.
College of Fine Arts and Humanities
The College will no longer fund operating monies for instructional TV. This will limit the number of programs on KFTW we contribute to NETV. The College will eliminate a lecturer position in Music. This may increase teaching loads for some remaining faculty, but the breadth of course offerings for students will be unchanged. The College will eliminate the German Major and the German Education Major. A tenure-track faculty member will be released, under established procedures that will accomplish this reduction over a two-year phase-out period. Thereafter UNK-based majors in Modern Languages will be limited to French, Spanish, and ESL. We will continue to offer some German courses via distance learning from UNO. The College will reduce direct operating support for the Museum of Nebraska Art.
The Office will reduce funds used by the Research Service Council to support research opportunities for students and faculty. While this reduction is small the RSC has been reduced a significant amount over the past few years. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research will eliminate one graduate assistant in the Art Department. It will also reduce its operating budget a small percent that will curtail some operations.
We will reduce our expenditures for books and periodicals. As prices and subscription charges continually increase, UNK will necessarily become increasingly more selective in its Library acquisitions.
Direct support of the Grand Island College Park facility and the North Plate Center will be eliminated. Increased reliance will be placed on alternative means of course delivery to outlying areas. We will reorganize the Office of Continuing Education to streamline management, to emphasize modern technologies, and to integrate services closely with Colleges and the Center for Teaching Excellence.
Center for Teaching Excellence
We will reduce direct funding for the Center for Teaching Excellence and explore offsetting collaboration opportunities with the new Continuing Education structure. Some traditional services for faculty may be reduced.
In the Business and Finance Area, we envision the following initiatives.
Administrative streamlining of facilities administration, and adoption of an employee self-service model for benefits or consolidation of accounts payable functions.
Potential departure of staff in Human Resources or Accounts Payable, in conjunction with reorganization and or consolidation.
Reduced resources supporting campus events and grounds maintenance and improvement.
Facilities Management and Planning
Reorganization to improve customer service will enable us to reduce the administrative salary budget for Facilities Management and Planning. Other savings would result from: eliminating an unfilled custodial position which would have directly supported events on campus, eliminating grounds assistance by students in the summer, reducing overtime costs by scheduling personnel during normal working hours, eliminating radios used by staff (relying on other means of communication), reducing travel and training budgets, and reducing operating funds in the grounds area by reducing the application of fertilizers and herbicides.
The four University campuses have common benefits programs. Systems modification and consolidation of administrative functions would enable us to deploy employee self-service options — thereby reducing campus staffing. Phone or e-mail counseling centers would be developed. This initiative is being designed by the Central Administration and campus Business Officers through the Human Resource Directors.
Central Administration is studying the Accounts Payable function for potential consolidation opportunities. The Directors of Finance and Business Services are reviewing the various accounts payable activities, including payment to vendors, employee travel reimbursement, procurement cards, prime vendor contracts, etc.
The Student Life Division will realize some savings from reorganization, consolidating positions, and reassigning staff. A support staff position in the Vice Chancellor’s office will be reduced and relocated to support the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The Learning Strategies Office will eliminate a support staff position, and a support position in Career Services will be reduced. The Counseling Center Director position will be eliminated, with salary savings used in part to support positions in Academic Advising and Learning Strategies.
The University Relations Division will consider eliminating the campus print shop. In line with expectations announced by the Board of Regents, we will look for ways to collaborate with UNL and UNMC print shops, and we will also consider outsourcing options.
In conclusion, I would note that these proposed reductions will be significant and consequential, i.e., they will have notable impact both on-campus and off-campus. The campus leadership team has developed these recommendations in an extended process of analysis and discussion. Now we need to hear the views of the campus community, and we encourage a vigorous dialogue about the matter.