Faculty concerns rise, budget adjustments undecided

By Gus Bode

With the possibility that adjustments to SIU college budgets may be based on credit hours, some deans were concerned with the potential outcome.

Gary Kolb, dean of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts, said if budget adjustments are not based on enrollment, the college may be at a disadvantage.

“We won’t benefit from that as much as other colleges,” Kolb said. “Our incoming freshmen aren’t taking classes in our college. They are mostly in their university core curriculum, which would have them registered in other colleges.”

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Provost John Nicklow said for 2012 fiscal year each college faces a 2.2 percent budget reduction. He said colleges who have seen a decrease in their enrollments may see a small adjustment to their budget, but no final decisions have been made. Nicklow said if a college’s enrollment is not up, their resources for recruitment of new students will not be sacrificed.

“The university is making an effort to link budget to instructional effort,” Nicklow said. “We are trying to accommodate each college based on the needs of their students.”

After the 10th day of classes for the semester, the university will closely examine the reasons behind any changes in enrollment numbers, Nicklow said.

Unlike MCMA, Kolb said the College of Liberal Arts accounts for more than 50 percent of the credit hours produced at the university. However, he said both colleges share a common ground in trying to maximize their resources.

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, dean of COLA, said she has made the necessary adjustments to comply with the budget cut and has tried to minimize the effects.

“There’s not a lot left to cut. We don’t have a lot in our operating budget,” Leonard said. “We want to make sure that we have enough faculty in areas where we have student demand.”

Nicklow said if further reductions are made it will not be at the expense of enrollment or student needs.

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For colleges like MCMA, Nicklow said he expects to see an increase in enrollment numbers due to recruitment efforts made by the college.

“The journalism department in Mass Comm. has pulled together their resources and hosted tours, made phone calls and made a massive effort to recruit students,” Nicklow said.

Kolb said in hard financial times everyone analyzes budgets and looks to save money after they see a steady decrease in the money received from the state.

“(The decline in state funding) began in 2002 and since then we’ve lost 20 percent of overall budget received from the state,” Kolb said. “It’s when money becomes short that you look at every saving that can be found.”

In an effort to maintain faculty and avoid the cancellation of classes, Kolb and Leonard both said the colleges have decided not to replace some retired staff .

“Unlike before when staff retire we can’t replace them, we have given their salaries back in order to meet budget requirements,” Leonard said.

Kolb said if the university decides to operate under a system that emphasizes credit hours he hopes MCMA can eventually benefit from the system.

“We may not see the benefits now but if they continue to use the same metrics hopefully we can benefit down the road, I’m not saying it’s not fair but essentially these other units have to be supported,” Kolb said.

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