On Wednesday, SIU President Randy Dunn released the details of the potential “SIU Financial Stability Plan,” which would include the closure of up to seven programs, the absorption of the College of Science into one or more colleges, consolidation of individual departments and budget cuts to many other departments on campus.
Total cuts budgeted by the plan would total just under $26 million, $4 million less than than the $30 million in cuts proposed by Dunn in March.
The plan is scheduled to be voted on Thursday morning in Springfield by the SIU Board of Trustees.
Seven programs are being considered for closure “based on a significant history of low enrollment and substantially weaker comparative performance on other metrics.” Those programs include:
BS, Mining Engineering
MS, Mining Engineering
BA, Business Economics
BS, Physical Education Teacher Education
BA, Africana Studies
MA, Political Science
Ph.D., Historical Studies
According to the document, admission into these programs is either now suspended or in consideration of being suspended by university officials.
Before any program closes, students currently enrolled in such a program will first need to be taught out.
The plan will reduce the number of academic colleges by one, likely the College of Science.
A merger of the College of Science with either the College of Liberal Arts is being considered, according to the layout proposed by Dunn. Alternatively, Science may be broken up and absorbed into the College of Engineering and the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Data from the 2015-2016 SIU Factbook lists enrollment of College of Science at 1,877. Liberal Arts was the largest college on campus with 2,849 students, while Agricultural Sciences had 1,004 students and Engineering had 1,513.
A merger between Science and Liberal Arts would easily create the largest college on campus, nearly doubling the enrollment of the second largest college for that year, Education and Human Services, which had 2,683 students.
Thus, other some programs are being considered to be transferred from Liberal Arts into the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts. Programs from Applied Sciences and Arts are also being considered to transfer to Mass Communication and Media Arts.
The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts would then become a College of Media, Design and Fine and Performing Arts.
Additional methods to save money include the potential consolidation of 15 different departments into six, with Dunn citing the reduction of department chairs as one example for cost reduction.
University College will be eliminated and absorbed into Enrollment management, eliminating of dean position from the university. Historically, University College was designed to ensure retention in student who had yet to select a major.
According to the 2015-2016 SIU Factbook, 2,028 students were undeclared in 2015.
The $26 million cut is broken into two categories: $6.8 million as part of a payback plan and $19 million in permanent cuts.
In the document, Dunn said the 10-year reimbursement plan has been dropped to seven years with the state budget now in effect.
For fiscal year 18, Dunn is proposing a $6.8 million payback from departments like the Provost and Academic Affairs, Athletics, Student Affairs, the School of Law, etc. He said $11 million was expected to be paid back this fiscal year, originally.
The projected budget expenses for SIU fall at $189 million.
While university officials now expect a $13.8 million shortfall in permanent reductions because of higher than expected state appropriations, Dunn has continued to pursue the $19 million cut that was originally expected.
Dunn said the cut was not reduced because even though the state now has a budget, it is possible cash flow could continue to be restrained. Other reasons include reduced enrollment expectations and potential future increases in state minimum wage, health care and pension costs.
If the Board votes to accept the Financial Stability Plan on Thursday, many of the cost-saving measures outlined in the document will begin to be implemented.
The Board will also vote on the appointment of Carlo Montemagno as chancellor on Thursday.
Editor-in-Chief Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_de.
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