Summer 2011: Vol. 5, Issue 7
Normally I do not write a summer issue of CLASS Directions, but the process of budget-cutting has proven to be so significant for the life of the college and the possibility of misunderstanding so great, that I thought I should wrap up this difficult episode with a general report to the college, even if it meant writing you in the summer.
First, I note that the university budget for fiscal year 2012 (academic year 11-12) was approved by the Board of Trustees on 28 June 2011. Two days later, on 30 June 2011, Governor Kasich signed into law the next Ohio state budget, which effectively made the implementation of the university’s budget possible. In the final analysis, CSU’s state subsidy was cut 15% or $11.2 million. In addition, CSU may not receive the normal funds to address campus infrastructure needs. Nevertheless, our budgets are now set and all the qualifiers that I was forced to use in earlier newsletters can now be set aside. We know where we stand for fiscal year 2012.
The college budget for next year was cut by $1,508,307 or 7.3%. This is at the low end of the three possible budget scenarios that we were asked to prepare. These adjustments were made through a combination of cuts to non-salary lines, the loss of some empty faculty lines, staff lay-offs, cuts to our summer instructional and part-time budgets, administrative savings, cuts in communication costs, and further efficiencies in select departments. The cuts were strategic, not across-the-board, and they were made after extensive consultation with college stakeholders. Nevertheless, I can tell you that every academic department was touched in some way by these cuts. Many departments lost staff positions; others, like History, by implementing efficiencies, were able to take significant adjustments to their part-time budgets. Still others, like Theatre and Dance, lost significant temporary funding for special projects. In addition, many faculty who wanted to teach summer courses this year were not able to do so.
Staff lay-offs, effective 30 June 2011, were the most difficult cuts we made. Here is a run-down of the lay-offs we suffered:
- Secretary, Dept. of Art
- Secretary, Dept. of Religious Studies (The Department of Economics will provide staff support for Religious Studies during the next year.)
- Administrative Coordinator, Black Studies
- Secretary, Inter-disciplinary Studies
- Administrative Coordinator, Dept. of Music (Cleveland Contemporary Players)
- Secretary, Dept. of Music
- Secretary, School of Communication
- Secretary, School of Social Work
- Administrative Coordinator, Dept. of English (Poetry Center)
- Receptionist, Office of the CLASS Dean
Such is the cost, in human terms, of this large budget cut. We tried to choose positions which, when cut, would cause the college the least damage and provide the grounds for greater efficiencies, but, in the final analysis, each staff member cut was a valuable employee. Some of these former colleagues bumped into other campus jobs or were able to retire. Others, however, were not so fortunate. Moreover, because of these lay-offs, those of us who remain in CLASS will have to work harder and more efficiently.
In addition, CLASS will possibly have to make additional cuts in the second year of the biennium, but if we do have to make further cuts, they will be relatively modest, and I hope we can cover these out of salary savings. The Provost has also asked us to review cost savings through possible mergers of smaller departments.
There is some good news. The proposed fee increase of $114,100 that was a part of our budget adjustment package was not accepted by the Provost, but we were not asked to match that figure with additional cuts. In addition, CLASS was able to conclude eight new strategic faculty hires, four of which were tenure-track appointments and four were Visiting Assistant Professors. So we will enjoy the presence of eight new faculty colleagues next year. Moreover, we have received word that there will be at least some additional faculty hiring authorized for academic year 2011-12, but that these hiring decisions will probably not be made until September. The Dean’s Office already has a ranked list of requests based on last spring’s departmental feedback, but Bill Morgan has contacted department chairs to suggest some last-minute revisions to the requests. Finally, it is also good news that economic signs suggest a stronger, more positive academic year ahead.
I want to conclude by thanking the faculty and staff of the college for their support and understanding during this difficult period. I received much good feedback from all the various constituent groups, and this feedback helped us make wiser decisions than we might have otherwise.
Let us now enjoy the balance of this beautiful summer.