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UMD Prepares for Looming Budget Cuts

Updated: 02/12/2014 6:41 PM
Created: 02/12/2014 6:37 PM WDIO.com

UMD leaders are making some tough decisions this year while having to cut millions from their budget.

Last summer, administration began the Program Prioritization initiative as a way to review all university departments, from academic to parking services. The department committees reviewed every area, and now, officials have an idea where changes can be made to reduce spending and increase revenue.

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Andrea Schokker said they don't know exactly where the cuts will happen yet, but they have an idea of what areas could be restructured to save.

The Office of Civic Engagement is one of those areas.

"It's not that we are getting rid of it, but we are moving that to look like something different so there may still be some sort of office or center or initiative but there won't be the current office structure that we have," said the Vice Chancellor.

Schokker said now that the Program Prioritization analysis is complete, they'll start making changes.

"We're going out to talk to those involved where we might see there is a chance for savings and then say, 'how should we proceed form there?' and we've had a number of people take a voluntary lay-off opportunity," she said.

The looming budget cuts have had the campus on edge. A recent proposal would have restructured workload for faculty.

"There was a concern that the only way you can save money by increasing workload is if those working more are making up for folks who are no longer with the workforce," said the president of the Faculty Union, Michael Pfau.

The concern created some high anxiety among faculty and the administration backed away from the proposal. It's now up for discussion with the Faculty Union. 

Schokker couldn't give an exact amount that needed to be cut from the budget.

"The reality is when you are constrained with resources you have to find new ways to do things so we are doing our best to make sure the students don't notice but there may sometimes be bigger class sizes," said Schokker. 

With the workload proposal, that's something faculty fear.

"In the end we want to make sure that we can be dedicating the time we need to each of our students," said Pfau.

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