UT Martin announces budget cuts, structural changes
By Sabrina Bates, Chief Staff Writer
Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 10:58 am
The tight financial strain that has left state shared revenues in the red has impacted not only community agencies across the state, but institutions of higher learning as well with an announcement from Gov. Phil Bredesen last month that money must be shed in an effort to keep the overall budget in balance.
“These are different times for us,” University of Tennessee at Martin University Relations Director Bud Grimes shared Monday morning.
After a series of emotionally-charged faculty meetings in December, ideas are in the works to trim spending at the local campus.
Dr. David Coffey, interim dean for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts told the group of faculty members that each dean was charged with creating ways to save money at the university.
“We have proposed that we are going to protect people and programs. We have done that and no one in this college is losing a job any time soon,” Coffey announced to UTM faculty members last month.
Proposed changes at the university include restructuring certain colleges and moving courses and majors to different colleges throughout the campus.
On a large scale, by moving the Department of Communications to the College of Business, Coffey explained the effort would catapult the business college into one of the strongest colleges on campus.
In an email from Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Jerald Ogg to faculty members last month, Chancellor Tom Rakes reportedly approved the recommendations set forth by UT Martin’s Deans Council.
“We understand that many of these changes may be disconcerting to the faculty and staff involved; few of us like change, particular when something is working--which is certainly the case with each of the units we have identified for merger,” Ogg cited.
“Nonetheless, as we send the UT System our plans for a budget cut that could range as high as 20 percent for next year (which represents more than $4 million in Academic Affairs), it has become painfully clear we are going to have to make some dramatic adjustments in the way we are organized if we seriously want to protect our teaching mission. These approved changes will certainly not solve the entire $4 million problem, but they do represent your leadership team’s best effort to position us for addressing the new reality,” he added.
Ogg announced structural changes would begin immediately this month, with an effective date of July 1 for full implementation.
Proposed changes include:
* The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems will be merged with what is now called the Department of Accounting, Economics, Finance and International Business.
As with each of the departmental consolidations, the recommended name of the new department will be worked out by the affected faculty and staff.
* The Department of Geology, Geography and Physics will have its disciplines merge into two or three existing departments. Geosciences as a major will become part of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, while Physics will merge with the Department of Engineering.
Geography will align with either Agriculture and Natural Resources or the Department of History and Philosophy.
* The Department of Modern Foreign Languages will merge with the Department of English.
* The Department of Psy-chology will merge with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice.
The Anthropology minor will be eliminated contemporaneously with the consolidation.
* The Office of Online Studies will merge with the Office of Extended Campus and Continuing Education, saving a director’s position while enhancing the growing synergies.
* The Bachelor of University Studies degree, now housed in the Office of Online and University Studies, will be moved to the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
* The Center for Global Studies, which now reports directly to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, will move to the College of Business and Public Affairs as part of a centralization of all of the University’s international activities.
Since that move will provide the Center an additional level of supervisory support (a dean), it will allow us to eliminate one of the office’s two senior administrative positions. The International Studies degree, a multidisciplinary program now administratively housed in the Department of History and Philosophy, will also move to the CBPA, which already has International Business.
* The Learning Resource Center, now housed within the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, will move to the Paul Meek Library.
UT’s Committee on Effective-ness and Efficiency for the Future, a special committee of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, met Monday on UT Martin’s campus.
The committee heard suggestions from the Faculty Council, a group of faculty leaders from across the UT system, after the meeting on how to save money throughout the entire institution of higher learning.