With a total base budget of $12.3 million dollars, the College of Engineering will have approximately $1.67 million in permanent reductions, or 14 percent.
And that’s just the first of the cuts. With the college expecting further cuts, the dean’s office is planning on cutting an additional $500,000. This will total to a cut of approximately $2.17 million.
These cuts are considered significant, compared to the other units. The reason for the high reduction percentage is because the college previously had more money in its reserves.
Though the college has not yet determined which departments the cuts will be taken from, it has begun to make cuts by laying off three staff members from the informational technology system. Since salaries account for a large portion of the college’s expenses, it anticipates that the bulk of the reductions will be made in that area.
“We will protect to the greatest extent possible the instruction of students, because they are our number one customers,” said Bruce White, dean of the college. “That’s our number one priority and we’re sticking to it.”
The dean’s office will not be laying off tenured professors, nor will it be eliminating lab classes. Several other courses will likely be eliminated after the office examines which ones have the lowest enrollments. Of the cuts being made to the college, the majority of the reductions will be made in the dean’s office. The rest will be made to the departments. Specific cuts will be determined in the coming weeks.
General staff response to the current and impending cuts has been characterized by both worry and confusion, said Ben Ransom, programmer and analyst for the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
In Ransom’s office, he has seen 11 positions drop in the last seven months without any replacement. Among the positions lost is a front desk receptionist, which he said the entire office makes up for.
“My hours have gotten longer,” Ransom said. “It’s just a little crazier and a little more stressful and I’m just trying to keep up with day-to-day stuff that needs to be done.”
Ransom also said that he was surprised when the three positions in the IT system were eliminated because he and his colleagues weren’t aware of the specific actions that the college was going to take.
“Generalities that are anticipated in the future are one thing,” Ransom said. “Specifics that happen to three colleagues is another thing.”
– Lauren Steussy