School of Accountancy gets down to business with budget cuts

By Cory Ray, @coryray_DE

Accounting is counting on old and new professors to take over courses because of short-staffing and budget cuts.

This year, the College of Business experienced a $350,000 budget cut, or 3.6 percent of its overall budget — the largest percentage of any college at the university. 

Vacant, unfilled staff and faculty positions in the School of Accountancy — a part of the College of Business — comprise the entirety of the cuts, said Jason Greene, dean of the college.

Advertisement

To cover vacancies, two retired faculty members — Allan Karnes and Raymond Walker — returned to instruct courses for this year. The school also brought Scott Hendricks, a local Carbondale attorney, to teach on a nontenured-track basis.

Alice Noble-Allgire, a professor at the School of Law, was asked to serve as interim director of the School of Accountancy until a new director is found. 

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword. All of these retirements have left us with vacancies to fill,” Noble-Allgire said. “But we’ve been very fortunate that those retirees are right here in Carbondale, so we can use them to fill these gaps temporarily.”

The school is currently searching for one tenured-track professor, one non-tenured-track professor and a director of the school.

“Because they’re so short-staffed, it made sense to put all of the talent into the classroom and doing research, so I’m coming over here and handling the administrative stuff for them,” Noble-Allgire said.

Ed O’Donnell, a professor in the school, volunteered to teach an over-load by one extra class. The class, Accounting 465: Internal Auditing, is an area of focus for O’Donnell, but he had never taught the class before. Because the school wanted to ensure enough courses were offered so students could complete their degree programs, O’Donnell took this course in the fall semester instead of the upcoming summer semester. 

“It really was a collective effort among the faculty,” O’Donnell said. “There was more than just one question, ‘Who’s going to teach this class?’ The question was, ‘How do we get enough hours packaged up in the semesters — in the regular semesters — so that our students can graduate?'”

Advertisement

In the past, O’Donnell said students had the option of different courses to complete a degree, but short-staffing has caused a decline in offered classes.

To conserve money the college is delaying some projects, including everything from travel for conferences to furniture purchases. 

Travel within the dean’s office staff has been reduced by staff foregoing attending some conferences related to the college’s accreditation. 

“We didn’t deem those trips to be critical to our accreditation,” Green said. “In the long term, it’s not something we want to do because that’s vital to the college and to our programs both to have presence at those conferences and to bring back the information that we obtain there.”

To continue their role as a research institution, the college has not cut back on faculty to present research at conferences because, as Greene said, he deems that to be vital to the mission of the college. 

Greene said no graduate assistantships have been lost from budget constraints. 

Cory Ray can be reached at 536-3326 or at [email protected] 

Advertisement