Monday, December 11, 2023

Pa. budget bickering has shut down the flow of state money to community colleges and libraries - FORD TURNER Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The discombobulated budget process that has played out in the Capitol in the past six months has stopped the flow of state money to community colleges and public libraries and left some other legislative priorities unfunded. The vast majority of state-supported operations have been fully funded and operating normally since Gov. Josh Shapiro on Aug. 3 signed into law a $45.45 billion spending bill that had been passed by the General Assembly. But some appropriations in the bill — including more than $260 million for community colleges and about $70 million for libraries — cannot be doled out without passage by lawmakers of separate bills that include “enabling language.” That passage has not happened because of partisan bickering.

Drake University plans to cut faculty positions, programs to balance budget deficit - Brooklyn Draisey, Iowa Capital Dispatch

Drake University is planning to make cuts to its academic programs and other areas of university operations as it grapples with a budget deficit in the millions. Provost Sue Mattison announced the plans at a recent faculty senate meeting. According to a draft of meeting minutes, she pointed to the university’s operating budget as the main cause of deficits, with a balance sheet boasting significant assets and low debt. All units of the university have made budget cuts to lower the deficit, including non-personnel expenses that have curtailed professional development and travel opportunities.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

St. Cloud State president to step down amid friction over budget cuts, layoffs - Jenny Berg, Star Tribune

St. Cloud State University President Robbyn Wacker announced Monday she is stepping down as president in June after six years at the helm. Wacker, 66, was appointed as the 24th president of the institution in 2018, becoming the first woman to be SCSU's permanent president and the first openly gay person in the role. She succeeded Ashish Vaidya, who led the university for two years following the sudden death of Earl Potter, who was killed in a car crash. Wacker told the Star Tribune on Monday that she isn't sure what her next role will be. But as the child of parents who both dropped out of high school to help their immigrant parents work in Colorado's beet fields, she wants to continue as an advocate for access to higher education.

Arizona GOP lawmakers hint at university budget cuts over free speech concerns - Cameron Arcand, Yuma Daily News

Arizona Republican lawmakers are reconsidering appropriations toward public universities in the state, specifically citing free speech concerns at Arizona State University.  The Joint Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona’s Public Universities started in July after an event in February with Charlie Kirk, Dennis Prager and Robert Kiyosaki at the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development dubbed "Health, Wealth & Happiness."

Saturday, December 9, 2023

University of Nebraska-Lincoln proposes staff cuts to remedy $12M deficit - Natalie Schwartz, Higher Ed Dive

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln plans to cut about 30 full-time-equivalent positions and reduce funding for teaching assistants as a way to remedy a $12 million structural deficit, the flagship announced last week. The university plans to achieve more than a dozen of the reductions by eliminating vacant staff and faculty positions. The proposal also calls for reducing state-aided funding for graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants by more than $900,000. Another $800,000 in cuts would come from the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion budget. The plan would lay off three full-time-equivalent staff members and find alternatives to state funding for another four positions within its DEI office. 

Temple grapples with low enrollment numbers, budget cuts - Sidney Rochnik, Temple News

As Temple continues to face declining undergraduate enrollment, the university has increased tuition and made budget cuts each year in an attempt to mitigate consequences for students and faculty. Enrollment at Temple has decreased by 21.8 percent in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic, from 39,088 students in 2019 to 30,530 students this fall semester. Temple at large will need to be more thoughtful about not just recruitment of new students, but also the student success aspect of enrollment management, and how we really support students from one semester to the next, from one year to the next onwards to graduation,” said Jose Aviles, vice provost for enrollment management. “But the most immediate pressing focus, without question, has been recruitment of new students.”

Friday, December 8, 2023

How the ongoing Pennsylvania budget impasse is hurting community colleges, libraries - STEPHEN CARUSO AND KATIE MEYER, Centre DAily

As Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to debate whether to fund parts of the state budget, people who run key programs around the commonwealth are being forced to make tough decisions. A Philadelphia nonprofit that provides wardrobes to low-income people has let go of staff. Preschools and community colleges have taken on debt to pay bills. And a library in the Poconos has cut back on programming including a visit from Santa.  Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro signed off on a $45.4 billion budget plan this summer — more than a month after the June 30 deadline — assuaging widespread fears among county and school administrators that they would not receive needed state funding. But the Democratic-controlled state House and GOP-led state Senate still haven’t finalized code bills that authorize and direct certain spending amid a dispute about whether to create a taxpayer-funded school voucher program.

Will gains from the spectacular ‘she-covery’ last? - Catherine Rampell, Washington Post

Hey, remember the “she-cession”? Three years ago, as covid-19 was ravaging the nation, child-care closures and remote schooling disproportionately forced women out of their jobs. Economists warned of potential scarring effects: Once these women stepped away from their careers, the fear went, they might struggle to get back on track. Instead, the opposite has happened. The she-cession flipped into a spectacular she-covery. “Women today see themselves as ‘people who work,’” says Brookings Institution researcher Lauren Bauer, “and the pandemic was not going to get them down.”

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Visualizing UNL’s budget cuts: 2020 to 2023 - Josie Golka, the Dail Nebraskan

As Chancellor Rodney Bennett recently announced his plans for the next phase of budget reductions, The Daily Nebraskan is taking a look back over the past four years — about $48.1 million worth — of budget cuts across the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  University of Nebraska President Ted Carter reported in June 2023 that the shortfall had risen to $58 million for the NU system, and Bennett announced a $12 million reduction in spending at UNL in November. If UNL’s Academic Planning Committee accepts Bennett’s recommendations and returns them to his desk, Bennett’s proposed cuts would roll out over the upcoming school years.

UNL proposes restructuring, slashing budget of diversity and inclusion office - Zach Wendling, Nebraska Examiner

The university’s proposed $12 million cuts would eliminate $3.4 million in vacant faculty or staff positions and reduce funding for more than $1.4 million in student teaching assistants and temporary lecturers. While the University of Nebraska says it is seeking a president committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, its flagship campus has proposed slashing the budget of its Office of Diversity and Inclusion. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Rodney Bennett has proposed budget cuts totaling $12 million, which is part of the NU system’s $58 million shortfall projected over the next two years. The University of Nebraska at Kearney finalized $2.3 million in academic cuts Nov. 20 as faculty across NU have blasted state leaders for not investing enough in NU.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Another Round of Campus Budget Turmoil - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

Public colleges in Nebraska and Ohio and private institutions in Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma are the latest affected. As financial strain continues to ripple across the higher ed landscape, below is another in a series of round-up articles of colleges and universities imposing financial cuts in recent days.Numerous institutions, including several in the Midwest, announced their plans leading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

College leaders refocus attention on their students’ top priority: Jobs after graduation - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report

After a two-year planning process, Brown has revamped and renamed its career center and is more than doubling its number of advisers, from 13 to 28. It’s an example of the new attention being devoted to career services by universities — even top universities, whose students likely won’t have trouble finding jobs — as consumer demand gets louder for a tangible return on investment for a degree. At a time of intensifying competition for students, “career success” is the top reason people give for getting a degree, a new survey of alumni by the workforce analytics firm Lightcast found.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Concordia University tells departments to slash budgets by 7.8 per cent - Andy Riga, Montreal Gazette

The school says it "cannot meet its core operating costs, which consist mostly of salaries and the day-to-day operations that support teaching, research and student life." Facing a growing deficit and the prospect of debilitating tuition changes, Concordia University is freezing executive salaries, slashing its overall budget by 7.8 per cent and may suspend infrastructure projects. In a memo to staff Thursday, the university said its deficit is currently $35 million. That’s 80 per cent more than the $19.4-million deficit anticipated when its budget was approved in May.

Drake University plans to cut faculty positions, programs to balance budget deficit BY: BROOKLYN DRAISEY, Iowa Capital Dispatch

Drake University is planning to make cuts to its academic programs and other areas of university operations as it grapples with a budget deficit in the millions. Provost Sue Mattison announced the plans at a recent faculty senate meeting. According to a draft of meeting minutes, she pointed to the university’s operating budget as the main cause of deficits, with a balance sheet boasting significant assets and low debt. All units of the university have made budget cuts to lower the deficit, including non-personnel expenses that have curtailed professional development and travel opportunities.

Monday, December 4, 2023

How Universities Handle Device Procurement Amid Supply Chain Woes - Erin Brererton, EdTech

With varying budgets, some of the 37 academic departments within the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences used to try to make faculty and staff computers last for up to a decade, says Dan Wood, associate director for user services in the college’s Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts & Sciences program. But keeping the older equipment in use, Wood says, often equated to increased support time and costs. Then, seven years ago, the university launched the ATLAS Care program, which refreshes departmental devices using a bulk pricing model the university established with vendors such as Lenovo and Dell. Since then, help requests concerning items near the end of their lifecycles have drastically declined.

El Camino faculty sabbaticals being cut due to budget issues - Emily Gomez, the Union

The El Camino College Academic Senate presented a resolution in response to budget cuts affecting and cutting down on contractual sabbatical leaves for faculty. A sabbatical is an approved leave of absence a faculty member takes from regular, contracted instruction time for personal development projects. They are mandated if enforced by a faculty contract. The El Camino administration decided to eliminate eight sabbatical leaves for the 2024-2025 academic year. “The administration’s decision to only award four sabbatical leaves for the 2024 academic year overlooks the opinion of the Senate and the Senate’s expertise,” Academic Senate Vice President of Educational Policies Darcie McClelland said.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

UNL will eliminate 30 staff, close open faculty positions in latest round of cuts - CHRIS DUNKER, Lincoln Journal Star

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will close open faculty positions, cut 30 staff positions and move other positions off state funding as part of its plan to close a $12 million budget deficit this year. UNL Chancellor Rodney Bennett asked the Academic Planning Committee this month to find savings across nine broad categories that avoid closing academic programs, though he anticipates the state’s land-grant campus could be forced to examine those areas next. "As this process continues to unfold, all those engaged in this difficult work recognize its significant effect on UNL faculty, students, and staff," Bennett said in a statement. "The university has no choice but to make difficult decisions to address a structural budget deficit."

Lakeland Community College Cuts Roughly 10% of Workforce to Avoid Financial Issues - Arrman Kyaw, Diverse Issues

Roughly a tenth of Lakeland Community College (LCC) employees will be removed to avoid financial challenges for the school, Scene reported.Lakeland Community College. Lakeland Community College board members voted recently for the unexpected 66-employee cut – part-and full-time workers, janitors, career services specialists, IT techs, groundskeepers, and others – which will take effect Jan. 3, 2024. And some of those who will be cut will not receive benefit packages.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

CLA Dean and CFO address college budget - Georgia Jensen, Minnesota Daily

In his address, Ulaszek said the tuition estimate for fall 2023 is $2.1 million short of the budget, meaning the college needs to come up with $2.1 million mid-year to give back to central administration to fill the budget gap. Elisia Cohen, director of the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said, in theory, students’ tuition revenue should be able to support the cost of instruction. Tuition is the primary source of CLA revenue, making up 71% of the revenue for the current fiscal year, according to Ulaszek’s address. Undergraduate tuition is the largest share of that revenue, currently making up 80%.

Sam Altman’s Second Coming Sparks New Fears of the AI Apocalypse - Peter Guest & Morgan Meaker, Wired

As Altman toured the world in 2023, warning the media and governments about the existential dangers of the technology that he himself was building, he portrayed OpenAI’s unusual for-profit-within-a-nonprofit structure as a firebreak against the irresponsible development of powerful AI. Whatever Altman did with Microsoft’s billions, the board could keep him and other company leaders in check. If he started acting dangerously or against the interests of humanity, in the board’s view, the group could eject him. “The board can fire me, I think that’s important,” Altman told Bloomberg in June. “It turns out that they couldn’t fire him, and that was bad,” says Toby Ord, senior research fellow in philosophy at Oxford University, and a prominent voice among people who warn AI could pose an existential risk to humanity.

Friday, December 1, 2023

University of Nebraska at Kearney to cut around 2 dozen faculty positions - Laura Spitalniak, Higher Ed Dive

The University of Nebraska at Kearney will eliminate 24.5 faculty positions and nine academic degree programs to help mitigate an expected $4.3 million budgetary shortfall. A significant portion of faculty cuts will affect the theater, English and music departments, the university said in a Monday statement. Laid-off faculty will be notified by May, though some cuts are expected to come through voluntary buyouts or eliminating vacant positions.  The cuts are projected to save the university $2.3 million. The system’s board of regents will have to approve the degree discontinuations.