Jan 272010
Authors: Aaron Hedge

As Colorado keeps projecting budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2011, CSU’s deans and department heads announced Wednesday that they will be trimming in faculty and development, but most stressed they would try to maintain the same number of classes currently offered.

The presentation was the second in a series to be held throughout the semester as open discussion forums on the upcoming budget decisions.

Numbers announced in the meeting were preliminary –– part of a series of budget drafts, which university officials are calling “Budget 1.0” through “Budget 5.0,” a play off subsequent editions of computer programs.

The last version will be given to CSU’s governing board, which will approve it and hand it to Colorado’s appropriations committee.

The faculty cuts are in the form of not filling a number of spots that will be left vacant by instructors and professors who are retiring or leaving for other institutions.

The development cuts come in the middle of a highly publicized capital campaign, CSU’s first ever, a move Interim Provost Rick Miranda called “frankly opportunistic” in some cases.

The university community is invited to provide feedback on the budget draft, and officials will take that feedback into consideration before they present “Budget 3.0” next week.

Some deans expressed frustration in the cuts they have been forced to spend many sleepless nights contemplating and busy days implementing.

Perhaps the most troubling example of how the cuts will affect the university came from Ajay Menon, the dean of the College of Business, who said that, for his school, they will mean fewer faculty, larger classes, a lower level of student satisfaction and a drop in national rankings.

The business school is one of the university’s most prominent departments, frequently ranked in the upper echelons of business schools nationally by business media.

Menon wasn’t the only one experiencing difficulties.

Jan Nerger, the dean of the Natural Sciences, pulled up a PowerPoint slide on the projector in the North Ballroom that displayed the famous cover image of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Music to be Murdered by,” where the director is seen with a gun to one side of his head and an axe to the other.

“For me, this last year has felt like this,” she said, pointing to the slide.

Natural Sciences sustained a nearly $2.2 million cut from its normally much larger budget of $25.6 million.

Pat Burns, the director of Information Technology and the libraries is busy streamlining his budget by cutting technical support positions, which, he said, will not bode well for CSU’s Web operations, like RamCT, the university’s online class discussion forum.

“We’re going to try to spread the staff thinner and hope things don’t break,” Burns said. He went on to say that things would inevitably break.

CSU President Tony Frank told the crowd of presentation attendees at the end of the meeting that the cuts are prudent actions taken in anticipation of better economic times in the future.

He commended the program leaders in making the cuts, using methods that are “tried and true,” but expressed frustration in the number of cuts –– totaling $12 million across the university –– and the effects they will have on CSU’s mission.

“(The methods) may have been tried and true,” Frank said, “ … but they are not without impact.

After the departments adjusted for the cuts, the university was still more than $3 million low in projected funds, so Frank plans to pull that amount from a one-time coffer to fill the hole, he said after the meeting.

Miranda said the university plans on restoring the faculty lines immediately following an improvement in the economy, but made no speculations as to when that might be.

“What I can’t predict is when the economy will come back,” he said.

Administrative units in the offices of Outreach and Strategic Initiatives and Advancement and International Programs sustained the biggest cuts and saw 18.8 percent, 10 percent and 9.6 percent cuts, respectively.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey, Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira and Projects Editor Jim Sojourner contributed to this report.

Projects Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 6:20 pm

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