Response of the Academic Planning Committee
to the Chancellor's Proposed Budget Reductions and
Structural Changes for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

MARCH 6, 2002

University of Nebraska-Lincoln




Introduction

The Academic Planning Committee received the Chancellor's Proposed Budget Reductions and Structural Changes for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on February 5, 2002. The Committee published its procedures for phase three of UNL's 2002-2003 budget reduction process on the Chancellor's web page on February 5 and also announced the procedures in the February 7 edition of the Scarlet and in the UNL E-News. Departments or units with a proposed budget reduction were invited to submit a written response to the APC as were units that would be affected by a proposed reduction to another unit's budget. Upon evaluation of the initial responses, the APC requested further information from some units in the form of expanded reports.

The APC received oral comments and engaged in question/answer sessions on several budget topics in open meetings on February 25, 26, 27 and 28, 2002. The meeting on February 25 was held in the Nebraska Union on City Campus and was an open forum for anyone who wished to speak on any of the proposed budget reductions. The APC invited representatives from some of the affected units to appear at open discussion sessions on February 26 and 27 to further clarify issues raised by the proposals, written responses or expanded reports received. The February 26 session was in the Nebraska Union on City Campus and addressed the proposed budget reduction for the Teaching and Learning Center. The February 27 session was in the East Campus Union and addressed proposed budget reductions for Summer Sessions, Extended Education, the Humanities Center and the Salary Increase Pools. The APC's hearings were concluded on February 28 with discussions concerning the budget reduction proposed for the Trailside Museum, located in Crawford, Nebraska. The APC discussed this proposal with those assembled in the Student Union of Chadron State College via two-way satellite video/audio connection and those in Lincoln in Chase Hall on East Campus.

The Academic Planning Committee also met in closed session to discuss the proposals and information gathered through the process described above, on February 11, February 20 and March 1, 2002.


Proposed Structural Changes

Understanding that implementation details must be worked out within the context of present and future economic constraints, the Academic Planning Committee does not take exception to the following proposed Structural Changes:

  Creation of an Office of Undergraduate Studies

  Merging the Office of Research Affairs and Graduate Studies

  Merging the Office of International Affairs and the Office of International Programs

  Withdrawing state funding support from the Farm Business Association

  Elimination of the position of Assistant to the Chancellor for Fine Arts

  Reorganization of the Office of University Communications

  Streamlining the administration of distance education for this campus

  Merging the Statistics Division of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics with the Department of Biometry

  Creating a process that would facilitate movement of faculty salary dollars among the colleges within Academic Affairs on an ongoing basis

Some of the aforementioned academic program proposals will require review by the Academic Planning Committee. The Committee stands ready to do its part in the process.


Recommended Salary Increase


The Academic Planning Committee accepts the use of the salary-increase pools to meet $2.77 million of the budget shortfall, as proposed. It supports the notion that reductions in the state-aided budget of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln greater than $5.54 million must come from the salary-increase pools.


Recommended Budget Reductions

The Academic Planning Committee takes no pleasure in supporting proposals that call for budget reductions that will have negative impacts on programs and individuals. However, the Committee also believes that the reductions that have been proposed have been given careful consideration by the units, colleges and university administrators, and those considerations have minimized the damage to the university, and protected its core missions.

With the exception of proposals affecting the Teaching and Learning Center, and the Trailside Museum, the Academic Planning Committee supports implementation of the budget reductions as described in the Chancellor's Proposed Budget Reductions and Structural Changes dated February 5, 2002.

The Committee offers the following recommendations on the Teaching and Learning Center and the Trailside Museum.


Teaching and Learning Center and the Office of Professional and Organizational Development

The Academic Planning Committee supports eliminating the Office of Professional and Organizational Development in IANR and recommends downsizing the Teaching and Learning Center's budget. Key functions of the Teaching and Learning Center must be preserved to meet the instructional improvement needs of the campus. The APC believes that the identity of the Center should be maintained due to the T&LC's history of service to the University's teaching mission. But, the APC does support downsizing and reorganizing the T&LC. The suggestions of the APC will entail significant changes, and these can be accomplished with a combination of budget reductions and reassignments. The recommendations of the APC follow.

Activities of the T&LC that the APC believes should be retained

  Consulting to improve teaching skills of individual faculty

  Consulting to improve skills of teaching assistants, including training of international teaching assistants

  Consulting to enhance diversity in the curriculum and its acceptance in the classroom


Suggested changes in operation of the T&LC that the APC supports

  Move administration of the T&LC to the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and as it evolves, to the proposed Dean of Undergraduate Studies

  Move electronic testing services as proposed and require users to pay the full cost of this service

  Reduce the T&LC budget with the resulting budget designated primarily for consultants

  Eliminate state budgeted office support for the Teaching Council, Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable

  Eliminate production of a paper newsletter

  Eliminate use of state funds for the purchase of additional T&LC library/resource materials


Budgetary suggestions for the T&LC accompanying the APC suggestions

  Eliminate all teaching grants (approximately $60 thousand currently administered by the Teaching Council and the Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable and the approximately $40 thousand that was proposed to be transferred to these bodies) and use these dollars to help fund consulting activities mentioned above

  Use savings from elimination of the newsletter to help fund consultants

  Transfer savings from elimination of new resource materials to help fund consultants

  Transfer support of consulting activities for diversity enhancement from other diversity enhancement budget line(s) to the T&LC

  With retention of consultants in the T&LC, there would be no transfer of .5 FTE as outlined in the February 5 proposal



Trailside Museum

After considering extensive written and oral testimony, the APC believes that in spite of sincerely made university promises, it will not be possible to sustain a viable Trailside Museum if its superintendent position is eliminated. Thus, termination of the superintendent position at the Trailside Museum at Fort Robinson Park was not supported by the APC. The Trailside Museum serves a unique purpose in a unique region of the state. Consistently strong learning opportunities for school children and adults in the area will only exist with a museum that has a full-time superintendent. Although the APC found the decision to identify this position for a proposed reduction to be understandable, the APC believes that the superintendent position must be retained, and the $43,092 found elsewhere.



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