The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is moving forward with the second and final phase of a plan to address an expected $38.2 million budget shortfall in state-aided funding through 2023.
Based on recommendations made by the Academic Planning Committee, Chancellor Ronnie Green has approved $20.99 million in phase two reductions that span each of the university’s colleges and academic units. A phase one plan of $16.38 million was enacted in August. The APC, chaired by Kurt Geisinger, professor of educational psychology, is a university committee made up of faculty, staff and students with the responsibility for reviewing campus proposals to create or modify academic programs across the university.
“In so many ways, this has been and continues to be a challenging time at our university, in Nebraska, across the nation and around the world,” Green said. “We never want to be in the position of taking difficult actions that impact our people, however, in the current fiscal environment, it was unavoidable.”
Per a Dec. 7 message from Green, the phase two budget proposal will be followed as proposed in September, aside from two exceptions — academic programs with specialized instruction in dance and textiles, merchandising and fashion design, will continue unabated.
As previously announced, the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts’ dance program was preserved through support from multiple donors. Funding will be provided through a realignment of existing endowment funds and an annual fundraising commitment.
Green removed the textiles, merchandising and fashion design program from the budget reduction proposals after reviewing and concurring with the APC recommendation to uphold the program. The program, which will continue, is supported by the College of Education and Human Sciences and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Academic leaders in those units are working to identify alternate budget reduction proposals, which are expected to be reviewed by the APC in early 2021.
Approved phase two budget reductions, which are being enacted, include:
Elimination of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources-based hospitality, restaurant and tourism management undergraduate program. This option is duplicative of the university’s broader Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program offered by the College of Education and Human Sciences. The College of Education and Human Sciences program, which will play a unique role in the new Scarlet Hotel being constructed at Nebraska Innovation Campus, is definitively not included in this reduction.
Temporary discontinuation of the intercollegiate athletics administration specialization in the College of Business’ Master of Arts program.
Additional phase two reductions include:
- Eliminating $8,176,079 in vacant faculty, staff and administrative positions;
- Eliminating $6,755,952 in additional vacant faculty positions as a result of the 2019-2020 university Voluntary Separation Incentive Program;
- Eliminating $2,630,681 in filled faculty and staff positions;
- Shifting $453,152 for staff and faculty positions to alternative funding sources;
- Eliminating $1,508,832 in budgets that support student worker and graduate assistants;
- Reducing and/or finding alternative funding for $1,123,324 in content and collections for the University Libraries and College of Law;
- Reducing remissions of $179,190 by the College of Fine and Performing Arts; and
- Reducing Nebraska Extension operating budget by $162,384.
“I thank the leaders across this institution for carefully evaluating options for reductions and for making difficult decisions. And I want to thank the members of the APC for their vigilance and diligence in carefully reviewing the proposals and providing their final recommendations,” Green said. “None of this is easy, and I appreciate the pragmatic realism in how our community has addressed this challenge.”
For more details about the university’s most current budget reduction process, including overviews of the two phases, click here.