Procedures To Be Invoked For Significant Budget Reallocations And Reductions - General Guidelines

IV. General Guidelines

  1. The UNL role and mission statement should be supported.

  2. Procedures must adhere to the Board of Regents and UNL Bylaws.

  3. Budget reallocations and reductions should support the strategic goals and objectives which have been established as high institutional priorities for UNL.

  4. Decisions about programs reductions and reallocations should include considerations of staffing, facilities, equipment, operating needs, academic program reviews, other reviews, and constituencies served.

  5. Definitions of academic and support and service programs to be used when considering possible budget reallocation and reduction strategies are:

    1. Academic program

      An academic program has one or more of the following characteristics:

      1. includes the word "College," "School," "Department," "Center," "Institute," "Division," "Program," or "Bureau" as a part of its title;

      2. is headed by a person with academic rank entitled "dean," "director," "chair, "coordinator, or "head;"

      3. offers a degree, a certificate, a major, a minor, a credential, a diploma or continuing education units;

      4. has a sequence of specific academic requirements;

      5. is a distinct academic option or track within a larger unit;

      6. has received administrative approval to be a distinct academic/service function.

    2. Support and service program

      For the purposes of this budget planning process, all other units at UNL will be defined as support and service programs.

  6. Choices for budget reallocation and reduction, in priority order are:

    1. Preserve, if at all possible, programs central to the UNL mission

    2. Reduce programs with excess capacity

      For each program of the university it is necessary to ask "Is this essential to the current needs of the university or the state?” and “Is this resource sufficiently available elsewhere in the university, state or region?" For each academic unit it will be necessary to consider current and projected enrollments as well as the demand for students who specialize in this area. For academic support units, one must consider whether the demands for the service are commensurate with the resources provided.

    3. Eliminate peripheral programs

      The key questions in deciding between a program that is truly essential and one that merely facilitates the functions of the university are "can the university possibly get along without it," "will elimination of this activity seriously reduce the effectiveness of the instructional, research programs or service?" and, "will elimination of this activity have a serious negative impact on the state?"

    4. Improve or eliminate programs of lower quality first

      Severe budget reductions could make it necessary to cut into both academic and support and service programs that are essential to the central mission of the university. Program redirection, however, should be founded on strengthening of essential programs. Rather than eliminating programs, administrative reorganization or other approaches should be sought to improve the quality of these essential programs. Decisions should be based on quality and the relationship of the program to be cut to other programs in the university.

      Programs of lowest quality should be eliminated first unless they are determined to be central to the university’s mission. Evaluation should be based on the effectiveness and productivity of the unit in question and on its state, national, and international reputation. Considerations must be given to the value of the activity to the public it serves. It may in some cases be necessary to sacrifice an excellent, but isolated, program to preserve one of lesser quality that provides essential services to key areas of the university. This statement does not deny that every unit in the system should be responsible for seeking ways to redirect its current resources to be more responsive to the mission of the university and the needs of the state.