Budget cuts to minimally effect students
With a new fiscal year coming up, universities across the country are facing budget cuts. The University of Minnesota Duluth is one of the that will be facing cuts to academic programs— $2 million to be exact.
The $2 million in cuts to academic programs this fall will mark the next step in UMD's plan to reduce a deficit that was once $9 million.
The cuts will affect just three of the five colleges that make up the university: the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Fine Arts and the College of Education and Human Service Professions.
It was done without eliminating any academic offerings, UMD officials said.
“There are no plans to suspend any academic majors and at this point no minors,” Fernando Delgado, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UMD, said.
“Let’s not impact our 4-6 year graduation rates,” Delgado added. “We need to be careful to monitor that when we make changes.”
The net number of class sections will be fewer, according to Delgado. The colleges that are affected will have some plans to move smaller classes into larger class settings, but that will be decided internally within the colleges. The plan is to offer fewer sections because there are fewer faculty.
Nearly 40 employees, all having non-tenured faculty positions, will be laid off by the University of Minnesota Duluth to help cut expenses. Some are actually still employed but with smaller workloads, but some positions were eliminated altogether.
“Most employees are not actually gone, just cut out of the base budget,” Delgado said. “It’s very easy for students to misinterpret that nearly 40 teachers have been laid off when, in fact, they are still in their position.”
But instruction-wise, every department in the College of Education and Human Service Professions, including social work and psychology was affected. The School of Fine Arts, including music and theater, was also affected. Some of the College of Liberal Arts departments affected include those for political science, sociology and anthropology, communication and writing studies. What it means for students is fewer course offerings for those in less demand, and fewer small classes for the same reason.
The College of Liberal Arts, which is the largest of the three colleges where reductions were made, had $1.1 million removed from its budget, including nine partial and full layoffs. The education college lost $500,000 and saw 19 layoffs. The fine arts school $400,000 with 10 layoffs.
Out of the $2 million that needed to be cut, there is still a chunk of money that needs to be determined.
“We still have about $300,000 left to identify,” Lynne Williams, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for UMD, said. “The cuts will go into effect July 1 and will be on the non-academic side of the house. These cuts will have very minimal to no effect on students.”
Within the next month, the budget cuts need to be finalized, according to Williams. UMD officials are also identifying and preparing for the nearly $1 million cuts for the fiscal 2018-2019 school year.
“We identify the budget cuts early so that we can analyze and tweak the budgets for the year after,” said Delgado. “It’s like playing a waiting game... if our first year enrollment increases and the retention rate of second and third year students increases, we will have more revenue and therefore less budget cuts.”
Although the $2 million budget is a large sum to cut, the students of UMD will still be ensured of their premiere education.