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Strategies to handle cut still being determined

Each college has been asked to explore potential cuts, with special attention paid to prioritizing academic needs

Feb. 17, 2011

By Kelsey Mercurio


Cleveland State still does not know exactly how much the state budget cuts will cost the university, but the university community is sure that the cuts are coming and some colleges are already feeling pain. Even though the various colleges and divisions don’t know what to expect in the end, they have been asked by the university’s budget office to start putting together a plan that will address the deficit. The colleges have been asked to prioritize the expenses they will cut, including personnel.

The deans of the colleges of Engineering and Class of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) know they will face cuts, but how much and what strategies are best to handle this is still being determined.

“I can state that we are preparing various strategies to meet our budgetary needs for fiscal year 2012,” siad Dr. Bahman Ghorashi, the dean of Engineering. “We are certain that higher education will receive its share of cuts, i.e. the State Share of Instruction and our university and, therefore, all of its units, including the colleges, are preparing strategies to meet those requirements.”

With numbers not set in stone, it’s hard to say exactly what the university will lose. Cleveland State is anticipating reductions between 20-25 percent, which could leave each college facing an approximately 11 percent cut. How each college and department will handle the cut will vary, but two areas that are being explored are reducing some classes and hiring of new faculty.

Some divisions in the university, including CLASS have begun planning some strategies to best deal with the cuts.

“Academic colleges were given three different budget cut targets to consider,” said Dr. Gregory Sadlek, the dean of CLASS. “After we know the extent of the governor’s budget cuts, the president will decide which of the three targets are most appropriate."

Even though it may seem like the university will be negatively affected by the cuts, President Berkman and other professors seem to have a positive outlook on the situation.

“It is too early to say exactly which aspects of colleges operations will be affected,” Sadlek said. “But we will work hard to make sure that we maintain excellent levels of service to our students.”

The faculty union AAUP (American Association of University Professors) also has some reservations about the upcoming cuts, and how it will affect the students and faculty.
“In preparation for the cuts, the CSU Administration has developed a plan for budget targets, which will come primarily from cuts across the university,” said Jeff Karem, President of AAUP. “To its credit, the administration has stated that the greatest proportion of cuts will come from the non-academic side of the budget. The CSU-AAUP respects this decision, particularly as the administrative side of the university has witnessed intensive growth at CSU.”

AAUP and its members are actively making plans that will have the least effect on students and their academic career at CSU. AAUP believes if all departments put full effort into making the right plans about the cuts, the university will get through painful cuts that lie ahead.

“It is vital that members participate actively in the ongoing discussions within departments and colleges of budget target plans, not only for the sake of protecting faculty rights, but also to provide proactive input to help balance the budget without sacrificing core academic commitments to our students and the community,” Karem said. “There are almost certainly painful cuts ahead, but if we work together and maintain a fruitful dialogue with the administration, we can help ensure the least harmful outcome from the process ahead.”

President Berkman also sent out a press release to all students, which stated what the school has been doing since last year regarding the situation that arose. In the release, Berkman talked about a task force that assisted the university over the past year, what he expected of the college deans and what he expects to happen come March 15, when Gov. Kasich will make his final decision about how much each university will receive.
“I know that this process is difficult and it is causing some anxiety and uncertainty,” wrote Berkman. “I believe, however, that we have established a collaborative and transparent process that will enable the university to overcome this challenge. Indeed, I am encouraged by the constructive contributions that so many of you have already made to our contingency planning process. Therefore, I am confident that we will emerge from this process as a stronger institution which is our goal.”

Until March 15, university officials have no idea exactly what to expect for the upcoming semester budgets, but with positive attitudes like that of the president, we can only hope for the best out of a negative situation.