May 15, 2009 in City, Idaho

UI to cut 62 positions, reduce 35 programs

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The University of Idaho will eliminate 62 positions and either drop or consolidate about 35 academic programs as part of a plan to cut its budget by $11.7 million next year.

The university will meet its legislated budget cuts by reducing its general education budget by 7 percent and its personnel costs by 5 percent, interim President Steven Daley-Laursen told faculty and staff.

“The deliberate and careful management of fiscal resources by unit leaders across all areas of the university over the past eight months has enabled us to meet the state-mandated requirement without furloughs or salary reductions at this time,” Laursen said.

Of the 62 positions to be eliminated, 41 have gone dark since the university enacted a hiring freeze in September, spokeswoman Joni Kirk said. The other 21 positions will result from non-renewal of contracts.

The university’s budget reductions were lessoned by the allocation of $4.8 million in federal stimulus funding. The administration also will use $2.2 million of unspent funds from last summer’s strategic reallocations.

In addition, the state Board of Education has approved a 6.5 percent increase in undergraduate student tuition and fees for the coming year.

Much of the savings will come from programs being dropped or consolidated in six of the university’s colleges. But unlike Washington State University’s recent budget announcement, no departments have been targeted for elimination.

German will no longer be offered on the Palouse, as the UI joins WSU in dropping this language program.

UI will no longer offer a master’s of teaching degrees in chemistry, earth science, geography, physics and biology in the College of Science. It is also dropping several post-graduate degrees in the College of Education.

The College of Agriculture is combining several programs into one undergraduate degree while the College of Natural Resources is consolidating several master’s degree programs into one degree.

About 464 students will be affected by the program reorganization. Most will be allowed to finish their degrees under the university’s “teach-out” policy, but about 130 students who cannot accelerate their major requirements will have to change their degrees or find another university.

The budget plan announced on Friday must be approved by the Board of Education at its June 18 meeting.


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