Fresno State Provost William Covino said today he accepts the recommendations from a campus advisory task force to close a significant budget shortfall in the Academic Affairs division and he will continue consultation as he moves to implement them.

The Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Task Force, with representatives from every school/college at Fresno State, began last April to research the budget gap and consult with faculty, administrators and students.

Based upon mid-year projections, there is an $8.6 million gap between the allocation of state dollars and tuition fees and the actual costs of operating programs in Academic Affairs. Some of the gap is addressed through funded research, gifts and donations, continuing education revenue and other means. However, even when all funds are tapped, a gap of more than $1 million remains, Covino said.

The task force’s main recommendations, which Covino told a campuswide forum he plans to implement in consultation with deans and faculty, include:

  • Continued enrollment management efforts, which prioritize access, quality and fiscal control.
  • Requiring university-affiliated centers and institutes to become self-sufficient.
  • Asking each dean to find budget solutions within his or her school/college, with the eventual goal of a balanced budget.

The task force withdrew an earlier proposal to disperse programs in the College of Science and Mathematics to other schools and colleges. However, the task force did recommend three departmental moves. Covino said he will work with the Academic Senate to advance these recommendations consistent with established academic policies:

  • Child and Family Sciences Department from the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology to the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.
  • Fashion Merchandising Department from the Jordan College to the Craig School of Business.
  • Economics from the College of Social Sciences to the Craig School.

Covino noted that budget problems in Academics are not completely solved by enacting the Task Force recommendations. While the actions help close the gap for this year, another budget cut looms for the entire university and all of public higher education if California voters do not approve a tax measure on the November ballot. Fresno State expects to have its budget reduced by another $10.1 million if the proposal fails.

Members of the Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Task Force are:

  • Co-chair Michael Caldwell (Music), chair of the Academic Senate
  • Co-chair Dennis Nef, associate vice president and dean of Undergraduate Studies
  • Antonio Avalos (Economics)
  • John Constable (Biology)
  • James Farrar (Plant Science)
  • Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School of Business
  • Dawn Lewis (Kinesiology)
  • Colleen Torgerson (Literacy and Early Education)
  • Rick Zechman, associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics
  • Manoochehr Zoghi, associate dean of the Lyles College of Engineering)