Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WSU faces restructuring after tough budget, president says

Posted by on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

A preliminary announcement of budget reductions at Washington State University was made this morning on President Elson Floyd’s “Perspectives” blog.

Tuition will increase by 16 percent for the fall semester, but that only covers about 60 percent of the $107.8 million shortfall created by the 2011-13 biennium budget created by state lawmakers.

“I have never encountered the succession of budget reductions that we are experiencing as a higher education sector and as a state,” Floyd writes.

The primary source of further budget reduction will occur through restructuring of university departments and the combination of administrative offices within those departments. For example, the College of Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts will be combined.

“If you consolidate two colleges you literally have the opportunity to see if there are redundancies,” Joan King, chief budget officer at WSU, tells The Inlander. “Do you need two deans? Do you need two dean’s offices?”

The Department of Theatre and Dance was officially ended earlier this year, and word has spread around campus that some departments and majors will be cut. But, so far, no undergraduate academic programs have been done away with, and King says she doesn’t expect any will be.

“I think the president’s been really clear that he wants to see additional work done on the side of the house that doesn’t impact the students,” she says. “I think he is focused on not continuing to limit what our students can study while they’re here. I would be surprised if we saw large scale program reduction.”

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