FY 2003 Budget Reductions - Second Round

APRIL 22, 2002

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The budget reductions announced below complete two rounds of reductions that have resulted in a $9.8 million cut from the 2002-2003 base budget of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This total includes $5.54 million as a result of cuts imposed by the Special Session of the Legislature, $1 million to account for a system deficit resulting from unavoidable cost increases such as insurance costs, $2.37 million as our share of the 1% reduction imposed by the regular session of the Legislature, and $880,000 to fund an additional campus deficit caused by unavoidable cost increases. Based on cost and revenue estimates at the time of proposing the Special Session reductions, we announced reductions of $5.54 million and reduced the proposed salary increase to secure another $2.7 million in savings. Now, based on more accurate figures, to meet the total of $9.8 million, we must implement a further reduction of $1,497,959.

The latter additional reduction has been particularly difficult because earlier reductions had consumed large numbers of vacant positions within academic departments and had put administrative units at the margin for providing necessary services. To respond to the Special Session reduction, 27.86 FTE faculty positions were lost in addition to 42.04 FTE other employees. In addition, expected employee salary increases were reduced by 28%. Further reductions in core academic units would seriously undermine the University's ability to support a quality undergraduate program. This in turn would make it more difficult to recruit and retain young people in Nebraska. The Legislature and the Board of Regents have both directed that this be our number one priority. In addition, spreading the reduction over all units in relatively equal measures, the approach we took, for the most part, in the last round, would weaken the entire institution in ways that would be difficult to rebuild in better times. A further reduction in the salary increase for employees would jeopardize our ability to recruit and retain faculty, an essential factor if any of the University's programs are to be successful.

Accordingly, focused and therefore extremely painful reductions are recommended for a few units in an effort to retain the central strength of the University. These reductions are in programs that are important to the University and to the State of Nebraska. They will directly impact employees in those units as well as the level of services we can provide. In choosing this course of action, we have been governed by the same principles applied to the first set of reductions: to do the least permanent harm to the future of the University.

Pending Matters

Trailside Museum

As part of the initial round of reductions, we proposed the elimination of the position of superintendent of the Trailside Museum for a budget savings of $43,084. The Academic Planning Committee believed we had not made a compelling case that we had alternative arrangements in place to assure the continuation of the Museum. Accordingly the elimination of that position was suspended pending further efforts on our part to give that assurance. We have this week signed a letter of intent with the Nebraska Historical Society, which currently operates other facilities at the site, to share in responsibility for the Museum. We are now assured that the Trailside Museum will continue to provide exhibits, school programs, and tours to the public during March through October and the end-of-the year holiday season. We will also honor our commitment to the Prehistoric Prairies Discovery Center, planned for Fort Robinson. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with the elimination of the superintendent position.

Additional Reductions

Division of Continuing Studies (Academic Affairs) $842,858

The Division of Continuing Studies state-aided budget will be reduced by an additional $842,858. This is a 30 percent reduction in DCS's state budget. This amount is in addition to the $83,139 cut already imposed on DCS during the February round of reductions. DCS's state-aided budget as of July 1, 2002, will be reduced by a total of $925,997, or 33.4 percent.

Continuing Studies is a valuable University division. It has a wide range of programs especially focused on outreach, and it contributes to the University's ability to fulfill its mission. It has many hard-working and productive employees. As with the budget cuts announced approximately six weeks ago, these additional reductions will result in useful and productive programs being weakened or eliminated and valued services to Nebraskans being reduced. Unfortunately, alternative reductions, which would directly impact undergraduate education and research, would be worse.

DCS currently operates with approximately $2.7 million in state funding and $8.4 million in fee-based, contract, or other self-generated income. Dean Don Swoboda has been asked to develop a detailed plan by May 6 to eliminate programs, reduce costs, and increase DCS's self-generated revenues to accommodate the loss of one-third of its state budget. DCS will of necessity become a Division more entrepreneurial and more dependent on fees, contracts, and other non-state income. The extent to which positions or employees will be affected cannot be known until Dean Swoboda completes his plan.

At this point, it is unclear exactly which units and activities of the Division will be affected by this decision. However, these cuts may require some or all of the following actions:

  · The number and variety of courses offered through our Evening Programs may be reduced.

  · The number and variety of courses offered in support of our Distance Education Programs may be reduced.

  · Fees charged by DCS may rise.

  · The Community Partners Programs may be eliminated.

  · The continued operation of the Nebraska Center hotel may be placed at risk.

  · Other DCS services, especially conferences support and non-credit programs, may be reduced or provided at higher fees.

  · The services provided through our five statewide learning centers at Scottsbluff, College Park in Grand Island, Norfolk, North Platte, and Southeast Nebraska may be reduced. In light of other reductions announced today, every effort will be made to avoid adversely affecting the Scottsbluff learning center.

  · The marketing of programs delivered by the Division may be reduced.

It is also anticipated that the coordination of the Division's internal operations are likely to be reshaped and resized. These include business operations, information systems administration, instructional design and development, and other special projects. As we progress through the next several weeks, Dean Swoboda will present to the administration the details of his plan to accomplish these reductions by realigning services, eliminating and/or reducing lower-priority programs, and internally reorganizing the Division. The guiding principle of the plan will be to retain DCS's highest-priority programs and activities consistent with its mission.

Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources $404,449

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources will reduce its overall budget by one percent, or $404,449. IANR will generate this amount by focusing on five areas for reduction spread across the teaching, research, extension education, and service missions of the Institute. Under these reductions IANR would cut 3.0 FTE tenure-line faculty positions and 4.15 FTE staff positions overall. The five areas include:

International Programs Division - $22,517

    Eliminate state funding to the Division. The .55 FTE staff position continuation dependent on successful grant and contract funding and available indirect cost funds.

Panhandle Research and Extension Center Veterinary Diagnostic Lab - $213,413

    Close diagnostic laboratory resulting in the elimination of 1.0 FTE vacant tenure-line faculty and 2.6 FTE staff positions.

Agricultural Economics - $62,991

    Eliminate 1.0 FTE vacant faculty position.

Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication - $81,705

    Eliminate 1.0 FTE vacant faculty position in Agricultural Journalism.

Nebraska Forest Service - $23,823

    Eliminate 1.0 FTE vacant staff secretary III position.

Conservation and Survey Division & School of Natural Resource Sciences

Within IANR there currently is the Conservation and Survey Division (CSD) and School of Natural Resource Sciences (SNRS). The College of Arts and Sciences also has some faculty with partial appointments within CSD and SNRS. We are asking the faculty of Conservation and Survey Division and the School of Natural Resource Sciences to meet together (with the cognizant Deans and Directors) to begin integration into a single unit. This integration would be accomplished so as not to diminish the status of the Conservation and Survey Division as defined by Nebraska Legislative Statutes.

This integration will bring together, under the leadership of a single Director, a powerful and accomplished unit, with the strongest possible focus on the Natural Resources of Nebraska for the benefit of our students and clientele statewide. Any administrative savings in this realignment will be used to strengthen these units or other academic units affected by budget reductions.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics $250,652

Although virtually all funding for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (Athletics) is self-generated, the University has transferred state funds in the amount of $250,652 annually to Athletics to partially offset the costs associated with the State Fair Board's use of the Devaney Sports Center (Sports Center). Historically the University has transferred these appropriated "in lieu of rent" funds to Athletics to partially offset the costs of maintenance and repairs at Devaney, all of which have been borne by Athletics. Athletics will absorb the Sports Center operating costs using self-generated funds made available through internal Department budget reductions.

Total $1,497,959