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Davis, California

Friday, May 24, 2024

Administrators see no immediate impact of reductions on courses

Additional budget reductions for 2010-11 have forced UC Davis administrators to analyze the impact these cuts will have on class availability.

According to a Feb. 5 budget planning letter, UC Davis has assigned $26 million in expected permanent reductions to the academic units to address a possible campuswide shortfall of $38 to $78 million.

This is compared to previous budget cuts of $7.2 million for 2008-09 and $14.8 million for this year to academic units.

Gary Ford, associate vice provost for undergraduate studies, has compared course enrollment for fall quarter of this year and the expected offerings for next fall. From his preliminary findings, he concluded that total enrollment across classes and sections have remained stable.

“So far I see little impact of the budget, I don’t see fewer courses being offered,”said Ford, who declined to release exact numbers because his study is ongoing. “I see to a large extent we’re offering about the same courses we offered the previous fall.”

Ford said that some changes may be linked with departments reforming their curriculum.

For instance, he attributed the increase in number of seats for Mathematics 17A and the decrease in seats for Mathematics 16A to the College of Biological Sciences recommending the shift in the calculus major requirement.

In other instances, Ford said class demand could be dependent on student choices. He said the difficulty in registering for Chemistry 2A courses in winter of this year occurred because freshmen may have decided not to enroll during the fall.

However, officials see the scope of the cuts as unsustainable in the long run.

Diane Ullman, an associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said that departments might have to deal with declining budgets through faculty attrition, or the non-hiring of faculty after they have left the university.

“We are looking at a cut that equates to losing 40 faculty members,” Ullman said. “It seems obvious to me that if you reduce faculty size you cannot continue doing everything you did before.”

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences was assigned a $5.1 million cut for 2010-11 on top of a $3.3 million reduction for this year.

Ullman said smaller departments, such as textiles and clothing which has only five faculty members, would be most affected by the loss.

Budget reductions are also expected to have a substantial impact on temporary instruction, which includes temporary teaching assistants and temporary lecturers.

According to Jim McClain, an associate dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, the temporary instruction budgets of several departments have been reduced or will be reduced. McClain declined to name specific departments.

He pointed to the recent loss of 15 upper division UWP courses due to layoffs in lecturers as an example of what could happen.

However, both McClain and Ullman warned that it is difficult to predict the impact on specific classes because the faculty is still planning to minimize the effect on courses.

“There are a lot of different options being discussed,”Ullman said. “I don’t have that crystal ball right now.”

The Academic Affairs Commission (AAC) has not adopted a formal stance pertaining to the cuts but is against the elimination of certain divisions.

In January of this year, ASUCD passed a Senate Resolution opposing the proposed closure of the Division of Textiles and Clothing department.

“The small programs of UC Davis, simply put, make Davis the school it is,” said Amaan Shaikh, chair of the AAC. “The diverse range of programs attracts an equally diverse range of students that allow the university to retain its reputation: a school devoted not only to mainstream education, but also equally devoted to nuanced diverse education.”

LESLIE TSAN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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