University responds to anticipated reduction in state appropriation
University units are beginning to make more detailed decisions on their response to the anticipated 10 percent reduction in the fiscal year 2004 state appropriation. The cut translates to a reduction of an estimated $36 million for the Ann Arbor campus, $2.8 million for the Dearborn campus and $2.4 million for the Flint campus.
Although the final shape of the FY04 appropriation will not be set until the Legislature acts later in the spring, many offices are preparing now in order to maximize lead time for program planning and affected staff. The specific budget cutting measures outlined below refer to the Ann Arbor campus.
"Academic and administrative units have begun to notify the campus of reductions and reorganizations that will be implemented to meet the budget challenge," Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul N. Courant says. "The measures being taken, although difficult, reflect a commitment on the part of both administrative and academic units to preserve core academic activities as the University's first priority.
"I know that additional budget-cutting measures will be communicated in the coming weeks, as the state budgeting process produces more certainty about the magnitude of the reductions and more units complete the process of identifying and implementing areas for reduction," Courant adds.
As previously announced, the University foresees the campus-wide elimination of at least 200 staff positions, achieved through a combination of attrition, positions held vacant and, as a last resort in some areas, reductions in force. A reduction of 25 faculty will be reached by holding open vacant positions. Many active searches to recruit new faculty have been suspended, and other anticipated searches were never begun.
In non-personnel costs, several units have targeted savings in operations and equipment, such as publications and computer hardware and software. Decisions made to date will reduce publication costs by $200,000 and computer costs by $750,000. It is anticipated that the final savings in these areas will be much greater after all units complete their plans.
Units will find additional savings by combining low-enrollment courses, consolidating certain majors and concentrations and offering less popular courses less frequently. Sections will be added, however, for courses that currently are oversubscribed, especially when such courses are necessary to fulfill graduation requirements.
The Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action (HRAA) will implement a reorganization, effective July 1, that will shift resources to three priority areas while reducing expenditures by $900,000, says Barbara Butterfield, associate vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer.
"Although this is a difficult time of tough decisions, I am confident that the choices we now make will lead us to a stronger, healthier organization," Butterfield wrote in a memo to the HRAA staff.
The three HRAA priorities are identified as organizational climate, including affirmative action; the job classification structure; and staff recruitment. A new office of institutional equity will be responsible for affirmative action and discrimination, and will merge the responsibilities of the Office of a Multicultural Community and the Sexual Harassment Policy Office.
"In addition, we will continue to build to full staffing in the classification and compensation area," Butterfield says. And HRAA will invest in focused recruiting to build pools of potential employees in areas where hiring is difficult, such as development, financial analysis and research support, she notes.
The University libraries will reduce expenditures by approximately $2 million, William Gosling, director of the libraries, told staff in a memo. "Our guiding strategy followed the provost's guideline to protect scholarly and academic initiatives as much as possible, while working to trim in the areas of administrative support."
The collections budget will be maintained at this year's level, although some reallocations will be necessary to absorb a 5 percent increase in materials costs. The plan protects the range of library services, and will have a minimal effect on hours of operation. Reductions will be taken in the areas of equipment, facilities, supplies, computers, maintenance, staff development, travel and library publications.
In order to close the budget gap, the University Library and HRAA have notified employees of reductions in force (RIFs). A total of 15 HRAA staff have been notified of a possible RIF. Ten of these staff members, however, work in areas that will shift to a fee-for-service model; if the positions can be supported by the new business model, the RIFs will be rescinded.
In the library, 15 employees have been notified of a reduction in force, 16 vacant positions have been eliminated, 11 positions have been reduced from full time to part time, and three positions have been transferred from the general fund to other funding sources.