Monday Minute: February 9, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

As you probably know by now, the governor has recommended a cut of a little more than $150 million to the University over the next two years. This a major reduction in state support. We are reviewing the University's instructions on what this will mean for our college, and I will share that information with you in the next day or two.

We go into the biennium with few options. Once we draw down all reserves in the college to cover the remaining shortfall we incurred when the University established the college, and the $210,000 unallotment to this year's budget, we will end the fiscal year at about a break-even point.

We want to avoid layoffs if at all possible. Our strategy of reducing our staff numbers through attrition will likely yield relatively little cost savings, given the poor job market. Likewise, there remain relatively few cost savings we can squeeze out via further operational efficiencies.

This leaves one real opportunity: bringing in additional revenue to cover our costs. This could mean generating on-line courses (as the governor wants), adding a summer term tied to increased enrollments, developing large service courses that draw students from outside the college, or any number of other possibilities. We need your creative ideas regarding new revenue.

I welcome your thoughts in any form: by commenting on the CDes MEMO blog; sending me an e-mail; and/or attending the college meetings this Friday, February 13. Faculty will meet from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon in 165 Peik (East Bank) and 4 Magrath (Saint Paul). Staff will meet from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in 165 Peik (East Bank) and 145 Peters (Saint Paul).