May 082003
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

For students already struggling to enroll in classes, the shrinking budget may make it even more difficult.

The Provost’s Office has informed the College of Liberal Arts that they must create a contingency plan with the possibility of having to cut their budget by anywhere from about $78,000 to $157,000, said Robert Hoffert, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

The possible result of these cuts students could see is the reduction of sections of classes ranging from 26 to 52.

“The college is unable to absorb any further cuts without affecting the number of sections,” Hoffert said. “We have no flexibility left.”

Thus far, the liberal arts college has lost $1.6 million of their budget. At the start of the 2002-2003 school year the budget was approximately $21.1 million. With cuts already in place the budget for the 2003-2004 school year is at $19.5 million and the maximum looming cuts could reduce the budget to $19.3 million.

“That is an incredible amount of money (lost),” Hoffert said.

The college has managed the already-known cuts without reducing instructional capacity, Hoffert said.

“The first principle (of the college) is to protect people,” he said. “The students are protected first.”

Thus far, the College of Liberal Arts has completely eliminated all programs for faculty professional development, reduced every department’s operating budget, adjusted workloads for faculty and graduate students, and eliminated all contingency reserves as methods for reducing the budget, Hoffert said.

The speech communication department plans on teaching the same number of sections as they did last year, although they have not opened everything yet, said Dennis Phillips, chair of the speech communication department. Phillips notes that those classes have not opened because there are not teachers for them yet. There are two teachers in the department who will not return in the fall.

“We’re concerned we’re going to get more cuts,” he said. ” If that happens, in all likelihood we will have to cut classes.”

A contingency plan has been drafted in case more cuts occur. The chairs of the liberal arts college meet today to discuss the plan, which must be completed and submitted to the Provost’s Office by May 16.

The political science department is already set to have six sections fewer next year. For the 2002-2003 school year, the department had 83 sections of classes. For the 2003-2004 school year the department will teach 77 sections of classes, provided there are no more new cuts. New cuts in the department could range from 2 to 3 sections.

In order to adjust to these cuts, the political science department has put restrictions on who can register for upper division courses, said Bill Chaloupka, chair of the department.

“Next year we are going to be teaching fewer classes that are required to enter the major,” he said.

Some students are concerned about the disappearing classes.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Victoria Gonzales, sophomore business marketing major. “Its unfortunate they don’t advise students before they get here.”

Gonzales feels that they are just making it harder for students to graduate.

The history department has not cut any sections of classes yet.

“It’s not clear that we are going to cut (sections),” said Diane Margolf, interim chair of the history department. “It’s certainly something we don’t want to do.”

It is undecided at this point what classes will be cut if reductions become necessary.

“We will give priority to high enrollment, CORE, required/critical path courses,” Hoffert said.

Some cuts that have been made in departments already vary in terms of division level. The political science department has made cuts in upper division and lower division courses, whereas the journalism and technical communications department started cutting at lower division courses.

“We’re running under a very tight budget, as is everybody else,” said Garrett O’Keefe, chair of the journalism and technical communications department. “In our view the best option for our own majors was to cut at the entry level (JT210 Newswriting) rather than higher level courses students needed to take closer to graduation.”

The journalism and technical communications department also puts restrictions on who can register for classes. This year students who are not majors could not register until the last week of April. They are also using enrollment numbers in deciding what classes to cut.

“(The cuts already made) were strategic cuts based on this semester’s enrollments suggesting we did not need those sections next fall to meet the demands of majors,” O’Keefe said.

Some students feel that the cuts will just make it that much harder to graduate.

“I don’t want it to take more money and longer (to graduate),” said Katherine Breda, freshman human development and family studies major.

Hoffert notes that many “incredible” people are “doing extraordinary things” to protect instructional capacity for students.

“In an environment where the university has lost well over $20 million, yet there continues to be growth, how do you make that work?” he asked. “The vast majority of growth at Colorado State in the last five years has been in the College of Liberal Arts.”

Hoffert feels a more intense challenge is finding ways to meet the increased demand instead of cutting sections.

“(So far) we haven’t reduced sections but that isn’t good enough,” he said. ” I don’t want to cut one single class if I can help it.”

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