Proposed Budget Reduction for 2009-2010 Announced by UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen

Chancellor Doug Kristensen

Dear Colleagues:

After many weeks of careful consideration within colleges and other major administrative units, we have developed a proposed budget reduction scenario for 2009-10 that has been sized to fit the reduction target ($794,059) assigned to us by Central Administration in June. This proposed scenario, outlined in the attachment, represents our current best judgment concerning how to reduce UNK expenditures within University-wide guidance. As is our practice in these matters, I am now making it available for campus review and comment. I encourage every member of the campus community to evaluate these proposed cuts and to participate in the feedback process outlined at the end of this memorandum. We will make final decisions after we have had an opportunity to consider campus input.

First, a brief reminder: the cuts outlined herein would reduce our state-aided budget permanently in the indicated units and amounts for the current fiscal year. We must also plan, over the coming months, for additional reductions to be effective in 2010-11, the second year of the biennium. The reduction target for 2010-11 is currently projected to be in the range of $400,000 to $600,000, to meet requirements for a total 2009-11 biennium reduction of $1.2 to $1.4 million at UNK.  We will begin to plan for that second round of reductions soon after the fall semester opens.

As I indicated in my last memorandum (April 7, 2009) to the campus on this matter, all NU campuses had been preparing for some months to reduce budgets substantially, because we knew that the University’s appropriations would be reduced and tuition increases would be limited in light of the national economic downturn. In early planning, we identified carry-over savings from last year’s budget that we can now use to fund our operations while we complete consideration of these permanent reduction proposals for 2009-10.

I would also note that the University-wide and UNK goals outlined in my April 7 memorandum have governed all our deliberations as we assessed our situation and alternatives. For those who may wish to review them, that memorandum and related guidance materials have been collected on the Budget Planning Web page that Vice Chancellor Barbara Johnson has provided on the UNK Business and Finance Web site. We have followed the systematic process I outlined in that memo, first developing proposals tailored to several possible reduction scenarios, and then, once our reduction target had been determined, identifying a set of recommendations for campus review.

What follows is an overview of the recommended reductions, arranged by major administrative portfolio. While any cuts of this kind are painful for those who may be immediately affected, my colleagues and I believe that we can implement cuts of this kind and size without fundamentally compromising our mission or core institutional values and capabilities. As is indicated in the attached outline of the reductions, a number of the cuts involve “burden shifting” mechanisms which reduce state support for certain activities but offset those cuts by allocations from other, non-state accounts. Where that is possible, we will be able to maintain functions and services at current levels. In some cases we will also be able to limit the impact of cuts by reorganizing or by managing and operating in different ways.

Chancellor’s Office and Direct Reports: $20,598.

This cut will reduce monies used by the Chancellor to fund on-campus enhancement opportunities and to support his representational functions in a variety of off-campus forums.

Athletics Department $13,000

The Athletics Department proposed to reduce state aid for its assistant athletic director/external affairs position.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs: $688,698

Academic Affairs Staff: $24,700, reducing allocations for equipment, improvement of instruction, and the Teaching and Learning Center.

Student Affairs Staff: $7,200, eliminating funds allocated to a vacant assistant director position whose functions will be covered via restructuring.

College of Business and Technology: $140,139, eliminating funds that support three currently vacant positions – a .5 FTE tenure track position allocated to the Dean’s Office, a 1.0 FTE lecturer position split between the Dean’s Office and business departments, and a .5 FTE tenure track position in business education.

College of Natural and Social Sciences: $156,200.  This will eliminate some state-aided travel/field trip funds and professional development funds that will be “backfilled” by monies from non-state sources.  This will also eliminate two faculty positions: a currently-occupied lecturer position in sociology, geography and earth science, and a tenure track position (occupied by a non-tenured faculty member) that we expect to be able to reduce after consolidating the Departments of Computer Science and Management Information Systems.

College of Education: $119,411.  This will eliminate: a currently-unfilled tenure track position in health, physical education, recreation, and leisure studies; a tenure track position in elementary education that will be vacated by retirement at the end of the coming academic year; and savings associated with expiring phased retirement obligations.

College of Fine Arts & Humanities: $142,000.  This will eliminate two lecturer positions in English (which will be replaced by adjunct hires) and a currently vacant tenure track position in communication.

Graduate Studies and Research: $22,000, eliminating two research assistant positions.

Library: $44,630.  This will eliminate funds for binding printed materials and will also result in cancellation of some library resources.  We will also realize savings from terminated health insurance payments for a retired employee, and we will shift funding from state funds to non-state funds for certain library enhancement functions.

Information Technology:  $32,418.

Funding from other non-state aid will be used to cover these expenses.

Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance: $59,918.
This cut will reduce state aid for several Business and Finance administrative positions, which will hereafter be funded in part by Revenue Bond accounts.

Vice Chancellor for University Relations: $11,845.

This reduction will eliminate funds allocated to a currently-vacant part-time (.38 FTE) position.

As I indicated above, it is now time for us to gather feedback from the general campus community about these recommendations. After fall classes have begun, we will schedule a campus forum (similar to ones held in the past) at which we will review the proposals and provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss issues and concerns. For those who cannot attend the forum or prefer to offer comments by other means, I encourage you to send comments to me by e-mail and/or to use the feedback tool provided on the Business and Finance budget planning Web page.

Thanks very much to the entire campus community for your patience during this difficult time.  I want especially to thank my administrative colleagues for the flexibility, diligence and genuine teamwork they have exhibited from the very beginning of this process, which stretches well back into the biennium we have just completed.