discusses budget cuts with HASS faculty
April 13, 2009 | LOGAN -- USU President Stan Albrecht
says that many of the steps USU took will help lessen
the impact of upcoming budget cuts.
A meeting Thursday at the Eccles Science Learning
Center, included Albrecht, Provost Raymond Coward, and
faculty from the college of Humanities, Arts, and Social
Sciences (HASS). This meeting was part of a series of
meetings Albrecht is having with various colleges to
discuss the effects of budget cuts at USU.
"We are continuing to do some positive things in a
difficult economy," said Albrecht.
He said that despite the budget cuts, many of the
actions taken by the university helped to meet the cuts
and lessen the effect to the university.
Albrecht said some of those actions included last
month's furlough, a voluntary separation program (where
some faculty will retire earlier), and not filling many
of the vacant positions at the university. Many of the
cuts wore able to be done through the vacant positions,
with voluntary separation helping much of the first
rounds of cuts, he said.
USU faces cuts in budget for the next couple of years.
Starting July 1, there will be approximately an $8 million
cut, followed by a $12.1 million cut to follow for the
2011 year, beginning on July 1 of 2010, said Albrecht.
Although steps have already been taken to meet these
cuts, Albrecht said that difficult times for the university
community are still ahead.
"We'll get through this," said Albrecht. "But I cannot
stand here and say that a $21 million cut will be taken
without much difficulty"
Coward said that while the voluntary separation did
help meet much of the cuts, some of those positions
still have to be filled. He suggested that some of those
could be filled with less senior personnel, or either
part-time or three-quarter time lecturers.
Coward said that each college is treated differently.
He said all colleges were asked to plan for a 5 percent
cut. HASS's portion, however, was cut down to about
2.1 percent. One reason for this is that while colleges
like engineering receive much of its money from research
grants, this is not the case for HASS.
Michael Kennedy, who is special assistant to the president
for federal and state relations, said to HASS members
to be on the lookout for research opportunities, some
of which come up with only a couple of weeks window
to apply for. He said otherwise, USU risks leaving money
at the table.
"I think there is a case for the areas of excellence
that that college has," said Coward, explaining that
while HASS receives less grant money than other colleges,
they need to make an argument with the legislature to
support the many areas where they colleges excels.
One area brought up during the questions after the
meeting was language training. Coward encouraged members
to make Gov. Jon Huntsman follow through on his promise
of a language training initiative in the state.
Yolanda Flores Niemann, dean of HASS, said while answering
questions to faculty from that college that the deans
wore told to look at several ways to cut costs in their
She said this presents challenges in the face of growing
enrollment, and the fact that the college will lose
One thing she said they may consider is to have large
classes with a lecturer for a day, which would then
break into smaller groups taught by graduate students
for the rest of the week; this would keep the quality
of a professional lecturer, while still giving students
the benefits of the smaller classes.
Niemann said that this is not a certainty, but one
of the many things that HASS is considering to meet
the required budget cuts.
Kennedy said that the stimulus package passed by the
federal government would help soften the blow from the
cuts for the 2011 fiscal year. Money from the stimulus
will come from both as funding for education, and as
"The saving grace is that in the interim, the federal
stimulus package was passed," said Albrecht. "[The state
legislature] was able to use part of that stimulus package
and give us some of that money back."
Although the final cuts will not be on his desk until
May 1, Albrecht said that things are being done to get
the university through this crisis.
"We are getting near where we need to be," concluded
Albrecht on a more positive note.