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Proposed Budget Reductions and Structural Changes

April 2010 - Narrative Summary

I. Budget Status

For the 2009-2011 biennium, the University faced a shortfall in its budget requiring UNL to reduce its expenditures by $3.7 million. These reductions were identified and adopted last year. With an unexpected decrease in state tax revenues, the Nebraska Legislature, in a special session in November, further reduced the University budget for the biennium. UNL's share of this further reduction was estimated to be an additional $9.2 million. Because the total reduction for the biennium will not be finalized until the Board of Regents meets in June, 2010, to adopt a budget and establish salaries and tuition rates, UNL set a target of identifying $5.2 million in further reductions during the Spring of 2010. In March, 2010, UNL identified $3.5 million of reductions and these have been reviewed by the Academic Planning Committee and approved by the Chancellor. This Narrative describes those reductions as well as newly identified reductions amounting to an additional $1.5 million. This is the seventh budget reduction to the university in the last ten years. The cuts described here, both the ones announced in March and the ones announced on April 21, total $5,080,012. Further reductions to reach the $5.2 million target, if required, will be identified in the Fall of 2010.

II. The Budget Reduction Process

UNL bylaws, approved by the Board of Regents, establish the "Procedures to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions." Those procedures have been followed, including broad consultation with the University community. After consultation with the Academic Planning Committee (APC), the Chancellor issued a General Budget Framework Document on January 29, 2010, that articulated the principles and established the timeframe for the reduction process that governs these recommendations. In response to the recommendation of a committee of the faculty senate that reviewed these procedures this year, the APC agreed to include the Presidents of UNOPA and UAAD as non-voting members of the APC for the purposes of reviewing the proposed budget reductions for FY2011.

In preparation for the proposals below, the campus administration asked the Deans and Directors to present scenarios that reflected approximately 5% reduction in their base budgets. The recommendations here were made after consultation with the Vice Chancellors, the Deans, and other unit managers.

The Chancellor's proposed cuts were announced in two phases this year. The first set of cuts was announced on March 9, 2010, and the second set on April 21, 2010. The Chancellor elected to announce these reductions in two phases so as to bring final resolution to reductions quickly. The APC hearings for the first set of cuts were completed in April and announced as final on April 19, 2010. These reductions, describe below, were to the Lentz Center for Asian Culture (removing state funds), the UNL Office of Research and Economic Development (using research funds to cover library costs), the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (elimination of the Associate Vice Chancellor position), and the Communications and Information Technology Unit of the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (reorganization and reductions). The remainder of the reductions described in this document was proposed on April 21, 2010, and the APC will not hold hearings relating to them until the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester, so they will not be final until after that process.

III. Priorities and Structural Changes

The Board of Regents has directed that budget reductions should not adversely impact the priority programs that evolved from the prioritization process. In addition, the campus administration sought to preserve the core academic mission of the University. Thus every effort was made to reduce administration and support functions over impacting academic and service programs.

Several principles guided the process. First, we attempted to find organizational efficiencies without any cuts to faculty, staff, or programs. Second, the reductions are focused as much as possible on programs that were not part of the core focus of the university. Broadly speaking, the two main focus areas for UNL are undergraduate education and research. The significant reductions to the budget are, to the extent possible, in areas peripheral to these critical functions. Finally, we operated under the principal that significant cuts should be vertical rather than across the board. Although many administrative areas and colleges will be affected by the cuts, the cuts are not evenly spread among these units, nor is every department within these units included. This is the only way to maintain strength and momentum at the University and position us to move forward when economic conditions improve. Being the seventh budget reduction in the last 10 years, it is increasingly difficult to identify cuts that do not implicate our priorities to some degree.

In the course of preparing for these reductions, we were aware that further reductions will likely be necessary over the course of the next three to five years. Several structural changes were explored to determine whether administrative efficiencies or enhanced services could be provided. The consolidation of Admissions, Ext ended Education, and International Affairs do not produce significant savings at the present time. However, these changes are likely to produce such savings in the future. The following structural changes are recommended:

Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

$1,404,000

IANR would affiliate its communications and information technology services more closely with those offered by University Communications and UNL's Information Services Department. Agreements are being negotiated to enhance services, avoid duplication and to ensure that the special needs of IANR, its audiences and its statewide operations, will continue to be met. Services currently provided by CIT that support the development and delivery of educational content to UNL Extension and other units will be reassigned and preserved.

Remaining CIT resources will be used to formulate a new curriculum to give students across the university an opportunity to understand critical issues facing food production, both in Nebraska and around the world. This curriculum will form the foundation for collaboration with NET Television, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts to focus on producing journalism graduates better equipped to report on agriculture. The goal is to increase public understanding of the nature of agriculture and how it serves society. Seed funds will be available to encourage IANR faculty to contribute to the development and teaching of this new curriculum. On-line versions of the curriculum will be explored as a potential new revenue-producing enterprise.

This new curriculum will also be available to the general student body of the university to explore issues of food production for a hungry world. This is a critical issue in the modern world and our College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will be among the first to do offer this curriculum. This reduction will require an elimination of 1.20 FTE vacant faculty positions and 13.97 staff positions.

Reorganize administrative oversight of Extended Education and Outreach, International Affairs

$108,193

The current Director of International Affairs will return to full time teaching and research activities on July 1, 2010. The budget reduction recommendation that is being presented to the APC focuses on the elimination of the Director of International Affairs position. The Director's duties will be assumed by an existing associate vice chancellor position with a reporting line to academic affairs.

Effective July 1, 2010, The existing, vacant, Associate Vice Chancellor for Extended Education position will be renamed the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. Alan Cerveny will add this AVC role to his existing appointment as dean of admissions. The AVC position will continue to have a direct reporting relationship to the Senior Vice Chancellor and will add a secondary reporting line to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. This structural change does not have current budget implications and does not alter or create academic programs and therefore will not be submitted to the APC for review.

All of these units have provided valuable service to the University. However, we believe that there are efficiencies to be achieved in providing enhanced service to students and faculty if the offices are coordinated. Change here must be thoughtful in order not to disrupt these important functions, so we are asking Dean Cerveny to study these offices carefully and to report back to the deans and vice chancellors on appropriate steps to enhance and expand service provisions . This new structure for administrative oversight does not change the reporting lines of the three offices. No staff positions or programs in EEO or International Affairs are eliminated in this reorganization.

IV. Budget Reductions

Office of the Chancellor

Lentz Center for Asian Culture

$73,801

This reduction will eliminate all state funds from the Lentz Center. It will require sharply reducing opportunities to exhibit the Lentz Collection, although the collection will remain accessible for scholarly and teaching purposes and occasional exhibits, funded by remaining endowment funds, and overseen by an advisory council appointed by the Chancellor. The collection will be properly conserved and will be digitized so that it is accessible on a dedicated UNL website. $4,538 of the reduction was channeled through the art department of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts. Approved April 15, 2010

University Communications

$60,039

Reduction in support for The Scarlet newspaper. Internal communications will be transformed to a new electronic format by July 1, 2010. The remaining .5FTE of Scarlet assistant position will be eliminated. The new Today@UNL will offer a daily html e-mail to faculty and staff that aggregates information now found in the print version of the Scarlet, UNL Today and E-news. The Scarlet will continue to be printed once per month, for use with a variety of external constituencies, saving production and distribution costs. ($28,039)

Discontinue contract for national news consultant. We have had a long-term contract with Gerhung & Associates to pitch news stories to national news outlets. With the hire of a national news specialist, national news placements are being addressed albeit without the additional support of key national coastal contacts. ($32,000)

Information Services

$100,000

IS will discontinue printing the campus phone directory. Faculty, staff, and affiliates will use further improved directory services from the campus website. IS is currently working to make the Peoplefinder function on the UNL website more robust so that it will serve as an adequate replacement for the Centrex. ($50,000)

Eliminate proposed $0.25 monthly reduction in the office phone line rate. This fee is related to an external service provider and is no longer required as a result of implementing a new billing application. An originally proposed reduction in office phone line rates will not take place. ($25,000)

Terminate Custom Support contract that is no longer required for operational purposes. ($15,000)

Reduce O & M funds. The amount of funding for maintaining IS facilities will be decreased. ($5,000)

Discontinue participation in the Chronicle of Higher Education Advisory Group. The IS management staff will no longer participate in this national IT advisory group. The reduction in national visibility and collaboration is offset by participation in other groups that are effectively meeting these needs. ($5,000)

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

$2,000,000

The Office of Research will assume the cost of supporting several electronic resources in the Library using Facilities & Administration funds. Covering some library costs with F&A funding has become increasingly common among universities across the nation. The impact to research funding should be minimized by UNL's ongoing success acquiring external grant funding. Approved April 15, 2010.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

$70,000

Managerial Professional Pool Line

These funds were intended to provide a hire of .5 FTE for an assistant to help with the caseload in judicial affairs. Impacts Director's ability to be proactive in student programming. The Vice Chancellor will seek alternative funding. ($31,550)

Nebraska Unions, Operating Expenses

This will reduce the operating support for care of the public areas in the Unions. Alternative funding source will be identified to properly maintain the public areas. ($21,037)

Career Services

Reduce State Tech Support to 15 hours. Fees will replace the State funds. ($9,797)

Career Services

The office will fill a vacant staff training position at a lower salary. ($7,616)

Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance

$174,583

This reduction is to Facilities Management Maintenance (FMP). It eliminates two administrative positions within the Assistant Vice Chancellor's office. Both positions have been vacant since last summer and are proposed for elimination. The workload from both positions has already been redistributed to the AVC and FMP Directors.

The first position, Director of Facilities Management, provided administrative and project oversight assistance to the Assistant Vice Chancellor. ($133,457)

The second position is a trainer who provided training throughout FMP. A portion of the trainer position is included in the above reduction and the remainder of the position is included in the Division's earlier Assigned Minus reductions. ($41,126)

Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Elimination of vacant Associate Vice Chancellor position

$80,000

This reduction constitutes a downsizing of the academic administrative staff in the SVCAA office. Work formerly performed by this associate vice chancellor will be absorbed by the two remaining associates and the assistant. Other organizational changes in the office of academic affairs, including the reorganization of International Affairs and Extended Education and Outreach, will ameliorate the effects of this reduction. Approved April 15, 2010.

Architecture - Eliminate vacant faculty position

$85,816

This is a shared position in Landscape Architecture and Planning. While important to the long range needs of the program, this reduction can in the short run be accommodated through adjunct faculty, increased class sizes and collaboration with other disciplines on campus. This reduction slows the growth of both programs.

Arts and Sciences Arts and Sciences - Reduce GTA support

$185,234

This reduction impacts the College's ability to strategically allocate GTA allocations to units and to assure competitive GTA salaries. A portion of this cut would be accomplished by using the college's central GTA pool, the remainder would require reduction of approximately 10 GTA lines in programs identified by the College. One year is needed for these units to re-assign and re-organize sections and duties to accommodate these losses. This budget reduction would have a direct impact on units' graduate programs, services and could potentially result in increased faculty teaching loads and/or slightly larger class size in a few classes.

Arts and Sciences - Eliminate vacant .23 staff position

$5,271

Eliminating this .23 FTE vacant partial staff position in the Department of History will require the department to rely upon student workers to cover office hours and other service tasks for faculty and students.

Business Administration - Shift funding for one managerial/professional position in CBA Information Technology Services

$50,193

This reduction eliminates state funding for one ITS staff member. Salary costs will shift to non-state sources.

Education and Human Sciences - Eliminate undergraduate teacher certification program in Industrial Education

$75,215

This reduction includes a vacant professor of practice position. The reduction eliminates the future ability of students to earn teacher certification in industrial education at UNL. The non-tenure track faculty member associated with this program is retiring. Reasonable efforts will be made to allow all current students to complete their degree programs at UNL. Some courses in Industrial Education are required in the teaching certificate program in Agricultural education and alternatives for these courses are being investigated with Southeast Community College. This program elimination reduces the range of teacher certification programs that students can pursue at UNL; however, Nebraska students can still earn teacher certification in Industrial Education at Chadron State University, Concordia University and Wayne State College.

Education and Human Sciences - Eliminate state support for lecturer position in distance education program in Family Consumer Science Education

$29,647

Funding for lecturer faculty will be shifted to distance education revenue from the Great Plains IDEA consortium. Future declines in enrollments could necessitate the elimination of this teaching position.

Engineering

$200,000

The specifics of this reduction have not been identified but the intent of the reduction is to encourage the College to find efficiencies through reorganization and strategic reductions to programs and to identify revenue enhancements through increased enrollment. Last year, the College of Engineering's budget reduction involved merging the departments of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Industrial & Management Systems Engineering. Three staff positions were eliminated as part of that reduction. It appeared at the time that eliminating the academic programs in IMSE would permit a better allocation of faculty teaching resources to other units where enrollment growth had higher potential. As part of the process of identifying the specifics of the current reduction, the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the College will conduct a study to determine whether any of the undergraduate or masters degree programs in IMSE should be eliminated and the potential budget implications of such a decision. If it is determined this is not appropriate, then other reductions within the College will be identified.

Extended Education & Outreach - Eliminate vacant partial faculty position

$29,715

This is a .4FTE open line in the Dean's office. The other portion of this position was previously eliminated. Elimination of this position reduces flexibility for meeting future needs.

Extended Education & Outreach - Eliminate operating and travel funds

$43,361

The loss of operating and travel funds reduces the budget flexibility of EEO.

Fine & Performing Arts - Eliminate vacant faculty position in Theatre & Film

$50,462

Eliminating this position will reduce future interdisciplinary work within the college. The position was historically focused on the MFA program in Acting and this will influence the future growth and strength of that graduate program.

Fine and Performing Arts - Eliminate state funding to the Lied Center for Performing Arts for Master Classes in Music and Theatre

$67,703

Eliminating this funding will affect the ability of F&PA students to interact with performing artists from the Lied Center. This reduction in support to the Lied Center will have a negative effect in the short term until private replacement resources can be identified or reallocated.

Libraries - Elimination of 3.0 FTE vacant office service positions in the Libraries Technical Services Department

$94,464

As the Libraries acquisitions continue to move from print to electronic collections, the workflow and volume in Technical Services has decreased. Permanent loss of additional Libraries positions reduces the ability to redeploy staff to other duties, such as digitization of Special Collections and adding faculty publications to the Digital Commons.

Undergraduate Studies - Eliminate vacant Director of General Studies position

$92,315

Leadership for the Division of General Studies will be subsumed by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. This elimination of administrative FTE will protect the core advising functions of General Studies, but will also mean that there is no full time leader of the Division.

Total Academic Affairs

$1,197,589

Total City Campus

$2,478,423

Total IANR

$1,404,000

Total UNL

$5,080,012