September 3, 2020
Dear UNL faculty, staff and students,
Earlier this week we announced steps taken to implement Phase 1 of the budget reductions brought about by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of $16.38 million. Yesterday, we presented the university’s recommendations for Phase 2 of the budget reductions to the Academic Planning Committee (APC).
These recommendations include $22.56 million in proposed reductions over the next three fiscal years across the colleges and units within the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, including:
- Faculty positions (including filled/vacant positions and expected attrition): $15.78 million
- Staff positions (including filled/vacant positions and expected attrition): $3.1 million
- Voluntary FTE reduction and moves to non-state aided funding: $585,000
- Reduction in University Libraries content and collections: $1.12 million
- Graduate student and student worker budget: $1.63 million
As part of these reductions, the following academic departments and programs have been proposed to be phased out or temporarily discontinued. If the reductions are realized, these programs would no longer accept enrollment for future students. Current students will have the opportunity to complete the course of study for their degree program.
- The elimination of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design within the College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS). This includes the undergraduate and graduate programs in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design within CEHS and partially funded by IANR.
- The elimination of the undergraduate Dance Program within the Glenn Korff School of Music in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.
- The elimination of the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR). This is a small program that is duplicative of the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program within CEHS – which is being maintained and recently announced a partnership with the new Scarlet Hotel on the Nebraska Innovation Campus to provide innovative, hands-on experience for those students.
- The Intercollegiate Athletics Administration specialization within the Master of Arts in the College of Business will be temporarily discontinued.
Having to make budget reductions of this magnitude is incredibly difficult. Over the past several months, the vice chancellors, deans and other leaders have worked diligently to look at all options and identify areas for reductions.
These recommendations reflect hard choices based on a harsh reality of the shortfall we are facing due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. None of our academic leaders wants to be in the position of making recommendations that will impact the teaching and research mission of our institution. I wish it were not necessary to look at the need to eliminate faculty positions and academic programs. However, in the current financial environment, it is unavoidable.
During the months of September and October, the APC will be holding hearings on these recommendations. It is important that our campus community engage in that process. If you have concerns, this is the opportunity to make them known. In November, the APC will make its final recommendations in response to these proposed reductions and how to meet our financial shortfall.
We will continue to communicate transparently and provide additional details as we move through this process. The Chancellor’s website has additional information on this process and APC budget documents.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had global personal, societal and financial ramifications. I know for many of you, this is yet another impact you are being asked to shoulder. For our university, the only way to face this is head-on, together. While very difficult, I am confident we can do so and emerge stronger on the other side.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.