An interim report released Friday detailed the College of Liberal Arts’ long-term goals to revamp the college and help it survive the financial downturn. About 60 individuals from the college met Tuesday to provide feedback.
The report centers on offering fewer but greater quality programs that will benefit undergraduate and graduate students. It mentions cutting the number of program offerings in half and leaving 40 open faculty positions unfilled.
The report was written by the CLA 2015 committee, a 30-member group formed to tackle the 2.75 percent budget cut levied on each University of Minnesota academic and support unit. It has since moved on to the long-term issue of identifying the programs and activities that should receive more funding and those that can be cut.
“We knew the worst thing we could do was stay exactly the way we were,” CLA Dean James Parente said.
The final CLA report is not due until mid-October. Statistics professor Gary Oehlert, the committee’s co-chairman, said the conversation will continue, as will the challenge. The committee will have to find ways to transform CLA into a smaller college with a more narrow focus while still maintaining the number of students and retaining prestigious faculty.
Faculty expressed concern over how the college will cut programs and positions while still educating undergraduates and attracting graduate students.
Thirty percent of CLA’s budget relies on state funding, and what’s left comes from tuition. When broken down, the state provides CLA with about $3,350 per degree-seeking student.
According to the report, other University colleges receive greater sums. The College of Biological Sciences receives about $10,000 per student, for example.
The report states that, because of the University’s tenure policy, cuts to CLA will have to come from areas other than layoffs.
CLA employs more than 1,000 faculty and supportive and administrative staff. It houses more than 16,000 students, according to fall 2009 data from the University’s Office of Institutional Research.
“This is going to sound very harsh, but it is reality. Most of CLA’s budget is salary and fringe benefits. Saving money means someone doesn’t get paid,” Oehlert said.
In Tuesday’s meeting, members of the CLA community offered praise for the 2015 committee’s effort to include everyone in the discussion process.
Faculty and graduate students then raised concerns about programs and departments that could be found on the chopping block in the near future.
The committee wrote that it wants to see CLA develop “signature undergraduate programs” and “graduate programs of distinction.”
Professor Christopher Uggen, co-chairman of the committee, said he wants to see the college aspire to “field-shaping” work.
Faculty members expressed concern at defining terms like “signature” and “distinction.” They also took issue with Uggen’s idea that professors are “creators of knowledge.”
Theater arts and dance professor Sonja Kuftinec said some fields, such as women’s studies, do not create new knowledge but critically examine existing ideas.
These aren’t neutral terms, Kuftinec said. They carry implications as to which programs will have access to resources.
Oehlert said each program will be evaluated individually to match the programmatic diversity within the college.
Kaylee Highstrom of CLA external relations attended the meeting. She said the changes are like a puzzle.
“You can put it together a different way and it is a completely different picture.”
-Taryn Wobbema is a senior staff reporter.
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
Minneapolis Used Cars
Give back to the Minnesota community with a boat donation at boat4causes.org.
If you have been involved in a car accident call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer for a free consultation.