The Academic Affairs Budget Advisory Task Force presented its final recommendations on closing a budget gap to the public at a meeting Wednesday morning.
Several members of the task force and Provost William Covino answered questions about the original report, released last October, with revisions and additions to it included in the final report submitted on Jan. 27.
According to the report, the budget gap, which the task force estimates to be $13 million, could potentially almost double by the end of the year if an additional cut of $11 million is made in November.
Retained in the final report is the suggested redesign of curricula to be more fiscally responsible and revamping courses to improve student performance. Covino addressed this issue in what he called a student misperception that a redesign would reduce a course’s quality. He cited the example given by the task force of a biology course’s redesign resulting in a drop in its failure rate, while raising its student enrollment.
While the previous proposal to dissolve the College of Science and Mathematics has been dropped, the task force reiterated that mergers between campus colleges, or between departments, would still be considered.
“It’s not all about budget reasons, but alignment reasons,” Covino said.
When pressed on this issue by a student, Covino responded, “Deans already manage departments that are not their [own] interest. The Jordan College Dean is a scientist, while the Arts and Humanities dean is a linguist.”
Another modification to the original report is that all programs, both undergraduate and graduate, should be reviewed to determine their campus role. The report says that all undergraduate programs “should be reviewed to consider reduction of majors, options and emphases, and minors.”
New recommendations by the task force include having the provost ask each college’s dean to produce a balanced budget for 2012-13 year and produce a plan that focuses on fiscal sustainability.
The Task Force asked that Covino discuss the report with the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate.