Budget Updates

From President Smatresk — Campus Budget Update

March 30, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

At the most recent Joint Finance Committee on Higher Education hearing on March 22nd, our budget cut proposals were reviewed. At that meeting leadership requested that we submit full and detailed cut plans to meet the executive budget for April 5th submission to the legislature. In addition, they requested that Chancellor Klaich submit savings estimates of NSHE wide campus consolidations and mergers that would minimize academic cuts. Leadership also made suggestions for modifications to our proposal at that meeting. The internal deadline for submission of these additional cuts to NSHE was March 28th. At this point each President has submitted fully detailed cut plans in a common format. Clearly the short timeline for submission of the additional cuts (approximately $3.3M) precluded meaningful consultation, although they have been discussed with Academic Council and Cabinet and Faculty Senate leadership. The additional cuts included some additional subprogram elimination and an estimate of cost savings from potential college and university level reorganization. The plan submitted to NSHE along with ancillary material is attached below.

I have been asked repeatedly what principles were used to guide these cuts. I would like to remind everyone that we aren’t aware of any other institution that has faced cuts of this magnitude over such a short period of time. We are in uncharted territory. We can no longer sustain the diversity of programs we have with the resources we receive; thus we need to reorganize in each college and across the university to focus on our core academic and research mission. This is resonant with the concept of being a smaller more focused institution. We also have to consider that we cannot significantly decrease enrollment revenue flow without driving further cuts. Based on this discussion, we have asked deans to continue reviewing the budget cut plans to reorganize the colleges to meet the needs of our students and provide them with strong learning outcomes, while creating a more sustainable university.

We are working with the duly constituted Faculty Advisory Committee, which consists of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the Professional Staff Committee Chair, the Classified Staff Council Chair, and the Priority and New Program Committee Chair, to continue to search for ways to mitigate financial exigency. We do not yet know whether the Board of Regents will declare Financial Exigency or if we will follow the Curricular Review processes to implement these cuts. We will continue to work with the Faculty Advisory Committee to keep them abreast of unit and campus wide administrative reorganization proposals and have asked the deans to engage to fully engage in consultation with faculty and leadership in their units as they develop their plans. We may not know what level of cuts we will receive until well into the summer. We will adjust our plans accordingly and will fully consult the final draft proposal when we receive a final budget. Subsequent guidance from our Board of Regents will allow us to determine the appropriate consultation pathway.

We continue to work with our elected officials to minimize our cuts and emphasize the critical role of higher education in providing a workforce, economic diversification and a prosperous and educated population. I greatly appreciate the effective legislative advocacy of our students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members, and encourage you to continue your efforts. I also thank you for all you are doing for our students and the community, and most importantly for your commitment to the university through this most difficult time in our history. I am proud of you and will continue to highlight all you do to build a better future for Nevada.

Sincerely,
 

Neal Smatresk, President

 

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