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Friday January 15th

NC State University plans to cut courses and positions due to budget deficits

University to cut courses, positions

As universities across the system are preparing to lose millions in state funding, N.C. State University has a new plan in place to help salvage its financial future.

The plan will eliminate or consolidate academic departments, programs and faculty positions to help the university deal with upcoming budget cuts.

Recommendations
  • Elimination of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Extension, Engagement and Economic Development
    Would be implemented by December 31
  • Merging of the Division of Student Affairs with the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs to form a combined Division of Undergraduate
    Student Programs within the Office of the Provost
    Would have to be completed no later than July 1,2012
  • Review the administrative structure for academic science programs
    Implementation strategy to be developed by December 2011
  • Review of low-enrolled courses and academic degree programs
    Academic Departments will have until June 1 to give justifications of why a course should be continued; the review of programs
    will occur during the 2011-12 academic year for implementation during the 2012-13 academic year.
  • Develop a new structure for academic planning
    The council that will oversee the academic planning process will be formed during the 2011-12 academic year

University administrators say recommendations, which include a look at 29 undergraduate programs, will help the university financially in the long run.

“We are not looking at what will be saved in the coming year,” said Charles Leffler, vice chancellor for finance and business for NCSU. “We probably won’t see the benefit till the following year.”

The plan includes a list of undergraduate, doctoral and master’s programs in 10 colleges that will be reviewed to be reduced, consolidated or eliminated.

Courses that have low enrollment will also be evaluated to see if they will be continued. This is part of a system-wide effort to identify unnecessary duplication among universities’ programs.

NCSU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Warwick Arden said the university wanted to talk to faculty before eliminating courses.

“We understand there are reasons for low enrollment,” he said. “We really need to have a discussion with faculty.”

Arden did not have a number of how many jobs might be lost once the plan is implemented, but he said there would be layoffs.

“We have to work through them and determine how many as we develop and implement the re-alignment,” he said.

The plan also recommends the elimination of the office of vice chancellor for extension, engagement and economic development.

It proposes the consolidation of the division of student affairs and the division of undergraduate academic programs.

Arden said the vice chancellor positions overseeing the extension, engagement and economic development department and the student affairs department will be eliminated once the current administrators retire next year.

Their retirement is not a result of the re-organization, but the future empty positions did stimulate a review of the programs, he said.

Arden said the recommendations will save the university money, but the savings won’t be seen until the next few years.

“No matter what happens with this budget — or the budget in the future years — we are able to handle the budget,” Arden said.

The state is facing an estimated $2.4 billion budget shortfall, and schools within the UNC-system have been preparing for budget cuts between 5 and 15 percent.

A 15 percent cut for NCSU would result in an annual budget reduction of about $80 million, he said.

Arden refused to comment on how much the university would save with the new plan, saying he didn’t want to put a price tag on it.

“The final numbers won’t be determined until we work through the details of the budget,” he said.

Contact the State & National Editor at state@dailytarheel.com

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