Budget ‘carnage’

Possible negative effects on future faculty workload, student education

earlier this week. Faculty Senate President Chuck Cornett sent the recommendations in an email to Chancellor Dennis J. Shields on March 2.
University Undergraduate Curriculum Commission Chair Chris Schulenburg said that budget cuts are too heavily weighted on the College of Liberal Arts and Education.
“It is a lot of carnage on our side,” Schulenburg said.
The University Academic Budget Committee had proposed that the director of graduate studies position be eliminated, but Faculty Senate does not support that action. Director of Graduate Studies Dominic Barraclough said that the position is too important to be cut.
“For me it makes sense because I am a strong believer that there is a lot of growth to be had in the graduate program,” Barraclough said.
A task force of administrators, deans and Faculty Senate Chair Charles Cornett developed the initial list of recommended budget cuts. Various faculty governance groups reviewed the recommendations, which was followed by UABC offering open forums. UABC then forwarded its recommendations to Faculty Senate. This current budget proposal is Faculty Senate’s review of all of this input and their recommendations to the chancellor.
“We wish to note that our recommendations to reduce or eliminate programs and positions or shift funding sources are painful to forward,” Cornett wrote in an email to the chancellor. “They do not in any means reflect the added value that these programs and employees have brought to campus.”
In the latest budget recommendations it has been recommended that the College of LAE convert four tenure track positions to instructional academic staff, on top of eliminating six faculty and staff positions.
Due to these cuts, Schulenburg is concerned about the workload that professors will have to pick up. He said it is likely that fewer courses will be offered thus making getting into classes harder.
“People think it will not compromise quality, but it will,” Schulenburg said.
Prior budget cuts have not allowed the English Education Department to hire someone with a PhD to teach Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language. This position is in charge of overseeing the program, advising students and overseeing English student teachers. Although many individuals help oversee the students, it is difficult not having one person in charge.
In addition, the Spanish minor has grown but due to cuts, students are now scrambling to find other classes due to the lack of professors.
“I know other departments have had searches for staff cut, and for students it is going to hit home,” Schulenburg said.
Another aspect that UUCC is focused on is figuring out how many general education courses realistically need to be offered. Schulenburg said that this is worrisome because it is difficult to measure how much students need to learn to have enough general knowledge when they graduate.
“Four years and 120 credits seem like enough for students to have a wide breadth of knowledge,” Schulenburg said.
Schulenburg noted that UW-Platteville’s education requirements are similar to other four-year universities and are a longstanding model.
Budget cuts are not only hurting undergraduate programs.On top of the director of graduate studies position being threatened, there is a proposal for graduate processes to be moved to the Office of Admissions or the Distance Learning Center.
Director Barraclough said that without a director, it would be very difficult for the graduate program to grow.
“We need a leader for that to happen and without a leader we lose consistency,” Barraclough said.
Barraclough does not agree with graduate processes being moved.
“It does not make a lot of sense; it will make huge, significant changes,” Barraclough said. “I do not think we have really thought the ramifications through on this one.”
If the processing of graduate students paperwork is moved to DLC, a center that does not receive any financial support from the university or state funding would then be in charge of processing paperwork from students who are receiving these benefits.
“I think I speak for everyone in saying that we wish we did not find ourselves in the position of reviewing any budget reduction, let alone one of this magnitude. However, many of us have either renewed or gained an appreciation for the value of shared governance, especially in highly significant issues such as this,” Cornett said in his email to the chancellor.
“In the end I have the feeling we will compromise what kind of education students have,” Schulenburg said.