Academic task force offers ideas to address reduced state funding

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Academic task force offers ideas to address reduced state funding

A task force of faculty and academic administrators formed to develop approaches to address the reduction in state funding that has affected Fresno State’s Division of Academic Affairs has offered recommendations that will be considered over the next several months.

Because of the state funding reduction, the Division of Academic Affairs has a shortfall of $1.7 million to $2 million. The task force report was presented to Provost William Covino, who said it is the first step in determining how to address the 2011-12 shortfall. Budget reserves are being used this year until a permanent solution is developed.

Covino will seek input on the recommendations from all academic units on campus, the Academic Senate and students before determining what measures to adopt. In March, he will begin to implement measures to address the shortfall by July 1.

One key recommendation from the Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Task Force is reorganization and reduction in the number of schools/colleges to decrease administrative costs, create efficiencies and synergies and strengthen programs.

The task force suggested reducing the number of schools/colleges from the current eight to either seven or six, for a savings of $250,000-$500,000.

The seven-college/school scenario would see the programs of the College of Science and Mathematics join other schools/colleges. A six-college/school scenario would combine social sciences, arts and humanities.

Another recommendation, which the task force estimates could save up to $1 million, is to reduce the number of courses with low enrollment and improve scheduling.

Other recommendations and estimated savings are:

  • Curricular redesign to be more efficient – $300,000
  • Redesign courses to enhance student success – $225,000
  • Shared services from consolidation of schools/colleges – $100,000
  • Undergraduate program consolidation/reconfiguration – $100,000
  • Graduate program consolidations – $100,000
  • Require centers and institutes to be self-supporting – $100,000

The task force members were appointed in spring 2011 by Covino based on recommendations from the Academic Senate.

It was co-chaired by Michael Caldwell (Music), who also chairs the Academic Senate, and Dennis Nef, associate vice president and dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Members were Antonio Avalos (Economics), John Constable (Biology), James Farrar (Plant Science), Robert Harper (dean, Craig School of Business), Andrew Hoff (dean, College of Health and Human Services and interim dean, College of Science and Mathematics), Dawn Lewis (Kinesiology), Colleen Torgerson (Counseling, Special Education and Rehabilitation), and Manoochehr Zoghi (associate dean, Lyles College of Engineering).

To read the full task force report, click here.

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