Cuts expected soon as review nears end
English, arts may feel ‘painful’ process the most
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
The academic review process, which began earlier this year in the wake of immense budget cuts that were handed down to UNH from the state of New Hampshire, is drawing to a close. Faculty members throughout the university are preparing for imminent cuts across many departments.
The process began early in 2012, when, according to UNH Provost John Aber, “all departments were asked to produce a short, data-rich report focused on three aspects of their activities: mission, efficiency and effectiveness or quality.”
These reports were finished by the end of February, and were then given to the deans of each college, who have since been working to “reconfigure the budget and responsibilities of their departments,” Aber said.
That process is reaching a head, as deans are to summarize their findings and present their reports to Aber this month.
“The reports focus as much on how to deal with losses of personnel that have already occurred, and on increased revenues, as on how to further decrease expenses,” Aber said.
Associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, John T. Kirkpatrick, said that the university-wide process of assessing all programs—both academic and non-academic—has been a difficult one.
“Across the colleges, on campus and at UNH-M [Manchester], the deans are engaged with department chairs and program coordinators to assess each unit in their folds,” Kirkpatrick said. “It is a painful process. The campus can spend only what it has, not what it believes it should have.”
According to Kirkpatrick, efforts are being made by deans and department chairs throughout the university to “preserve what is most crucial to the university so that it may endure these challenging times.”
However, Kirkpatrick warns that some unpopular cuts may have to be made by the time the review process ends. He says that the university will likely have a clearer idea of exactly what cuts will be made in the coming weeks.
“It is likely that the university will be required to make some cuts, and they are not welcome ones,” he said.
Throughout the university, professors and department chairs are preparing for these unwelcomed cuts to their departments.
Jennifer Moses, a professor and department chair of the art department, said she fears that the arts may be hit hard by the budget cuts.
“Right now the imminent cuts are a cloud hanging over the department,” Moses said. “[I] am trying to proceed with business and keep working towards future department endeavors and stave off my disappointment until the ax has dropped. But the tension of the wait is palpable in the hallways of PCAC.”
“I think the ‘arts’ in general are at risk of being hit harder in this economy on every level,” she added.
Andrew Merton, the department chair of the English department, said that the English department has already felt the pinch economically. Specifically, he cited professors who are working on tenure track that have been hit hard.
“We’re down a number of tenure track faculty members,” Merton said. “That is a worry. We are supposed to be a research university. It’s the tenure track people that do that.”
Merton said that nobody at the university is to blame for cuts that are to be made, however. He said that faculty members are simply trying to work with the budgetary blow that the state has dealt the university.
“What the state legislature did to us was just devastating,” he said. “The state is contributing very little.”
David Kaye, a professor and chair in the Theater and Dance department, knows firsthand what it is like to work without much funding.
“We had what little funding we received from the university for our productions taken several years ago,” Kaye said. “We do receive basic operating funds for the department, which pays for day to day things, funds for work study, lecturers, and so on. That is where we would get hit.”
Kaye said that despite the challenges that the review process has presented, he sees something of a silver lining in the whole situation.
“I think everyone is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Kaye said. “One thing we have learned from the academic review is how much each department does with so little.”