I recently communicated with the campus community my concerns regarding the proposed state budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that begins July 1. I remain concerned that additional reductions in our state funds could occur once the proposed budget is finalized.
We have been working over the past months to identify additional savings and efficiencies in operations that can be made without further impacting core academic programs. Unfortunately, given the potential magnitude of additional reductions in our state funds, I have concluded that we must be prepared should more extraordinary measures be necessary. Therefore we are moving forward with the following actions:
I have asked Provost Bourg to work with deans and department heads to update departmental information that would feed into an academic program review process. In the near future, faculty will be asked to participate in a process to update program data. Should a new academic program review become necessary, we likely would utilize existing program prioritization criteria that were created several years ago when a similar review process occurred. As we have done in the past, the criteria and data utilized would be shared with the entire campus community. The information related to the prior academic program review can be found at the following link: Academic Program Review Materials. The University of Louisiana System Office will be working with campuses to examine program review related policies and procedures, and I will keep the campus apprised of any modifications.
I am appointing a Budget Advisory Committee that will include faculty, staff and student participants. The Committee charge will be to identify recommendations for additional budget savings and/or revenue enhancement measures. When the Committee has been named, I will share membership with the entire campus. This group will also solicit budget-related recommendations from members of the campus community.
While I remain hopeful that solutions to the challenges in the proposed state budget will be found, I am convinced that we must be prepared in case significant additional cuts occur. I do not have to remind members of the campus community that our institution has absorbed nearly $40 million in reductions in state funds over the last few years, and that additional significant reductions will be extremely difficult to manage without negatively impacting programs and people, including tenured faculty and contract employees.
Obviously, I will continue to work diligently with members of our legislative delegation to pursue every effort for a positive outcome with the budget; however, we must all be prepared for additional reductions, should they occur.
We have seen difficult budget challenges before, and Southeastern has persevered because of the dedication of our faculty and staff in serving the best interest of our students. As always, I will keep the campus informed of new developments.