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State funding cuts
take a toll on all
UNC system campuses

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The harsh realities of cutting a total $414 million in permanent state funding are beginning to take a toll in classrooms and offices across all 17 campuses of the UNC system.

At Carolina, where administrators are grappling with absorbing more than $100 million in permanent cuts this fiscal year, the deans, directors and department heads are working on how their units will manage a 17.9 percent campus-wide cut.

Even with the $20 million transfer of funds from the UNC Health Care System to help the University and School of Medicine absorb the cuts this fiscal year, plus savings realized since July 1 from the nearly 5 percent permanent cut the University proactively took in the spring, the effect on classrooms, programs and jobs will be measurable, Chancellor Holden Thorp has said.

Class sizes will increase and fewer course sections will be offered. The consequences will be especially acute in the College of Arts and Sciences, where faculty teach 86 percent of the University’s total undergraduate credit hours.

In the last few years, the number of classes in the college with fewer than 20 students has decreased by 18.2 percent, while classes with 40 to 49 students have increased by 22.5 percent and classes with more than 100 students have increased by 17 percent.

Administrators also are concerned about managing cuts in the University’s support areas, which already are spread thin. Functions as basic as maintaining building operations could be at risk, Dick Mann, vice chancellor for finance and administration, told the Board of Trustees last month.

Budget cuts across the UNC system average 15.6 percent, ranging from 8.4 percent at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics to 17.9 percent at Carolina.

State appropriations generally account for less than one-quarter of the University’s total revenues, while many other UNC system campuses rely more heavily on state support.

The state funding reductions for 2011–12 are compounded by the cumulative effect of yearly budget cuts since the economic downturn began.

UNC President Tom Ross told the Board of Governors during its Aug. 12 meeting that the UNC system had taken more than $1 billion in cuts during a five-year period, “so the easy decisions are gone.”

Throughout the UNC system, administrators are making tough calls affecting jobs, programs and classrooms. These decisions include:

* *UNC-Asheville: $4.5 million (11.8 percent) reduction, resulting in the elimination of 10-1/2 faculty positions, fewer classes and larger class sizes.

* *UNC-Charlotte: $33.5 million (16.2 percent) reduction, resulting in the loss of more than 270 unfilled positions.

* *UNC-Greensboro: $26.3 million (15.3 percent) reduction, resulting in elimination of 157 faculty and 46 staff positions (half were held vacant this year), 975 fewer course sections offered and larger classes.

* *East Carolina University: $49.1 million (16 percent) reduction, half to come from colleges and departments, resulting in 190 positions being eliminated.

* *N.C. School of Science and Mathematics: $1.6 million (8.4 percent) reduction, resulting in the elimination of about 15 percent of the senior administration staff and 6-1/2 faculty and staff positions, and preventing the expansion of the school’s distance education program.

* *N.C. State University: $79.3 million (15.1 percent) reduction, with the recent organizational realignment expected to help reduce the impact, resulting in about 7 percent cuts on the academic side and 10 percent on the administrative side.

* *UNC School of the Arts: $3 million (10.8 percent) reduction, resulting in layoffs for seven staff members, eliminating several vacant teaching and staff positions and leaving 6-1/2 vacant staff positions and six faculty positions unfilled.

* *Western Carolina University: $14.2 million (16.4 percent) reduction, resulting in scaling back some of the programs of study and a change in the outlook for the university’s credit rating from stable to negative by Moody’s Investors Service.

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August 24, 2011

Aug. 24, 2011 Gazette
Click here to read the August 24
issue as a PDF


* *They’re back!

* *September 11: searching for solace and solidarity

* *Sudderth plants, not paints, but the campus is his canvas

* *Concussion? Now there’s an app for that

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(Including links to Gazette budget stories)

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