UM System looks to cut faculty, programs as solution for budget shortfall

UM System President Mun Choi announced a timeline Monday for dealing with the 8 to 12 percent spending cuts.

Staff and nontenure track faculty positions may be cut, and academic programs with low enrollment may also be at risk as the UM System prepares to deal with a drastic budget shortfall, UM System President Mun Choi said in an email to students, faculty and staff Monday.

MU campus officials have until May 10 to release both short- and long-term plans to address these funding cuts. The UM System needs to reduce spending by between 8 and 12 percent in the coming fiscal year, Choi said in the email.

As a response to the potential $57 million in funding cuts from the state in the 2018 fiscal year budget, the UM System will be drafting a plan to accommodate the losses during the next two months — a plan that will be released to the public by June 2, according to the email.

He said the administration will not make across-the-board cuts to all programs. Campuses are instructed to prioritize academic programs with strong performance measures — bringing in grants, prominent placement of graduates, having faculty win awards and get published in journals and national ranking of the programs overall.

The email also said campuses should assess programs based on the number of students enrolled and the programs’ retention, graduation and job placement rates.

Student, faculty and staff diversity was also listed as a factor for prioritizing programs.

UM System campuses became aware of the state’s budget cuts in January, when Gov. Eric Greitens released his proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which will take effect on July 1.

Since then, the Office of the Chancellor has announced two new committees that will address campus financial issues surrounding capital investments and allocation of funds. However, members are still being selected for both committees, and plans for the 2018 fiscal year are due in just over a month.

After plans are reviewed by groups on campus, they will be submitted to Choi by May 19, and by May 26 he will review the plans with leaders from each university.

Edited by Kyle LaHucik | klahucik@themaneater.com

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