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CEU trustees recommend academic cuts

Sun Advocate reporter

CEU now faces another round of severe budget cuts for the upcoming 2010-11 academic year. On Friday, Nov. 6, CEU's board of trustees met to make recommendations about cuts to the academic offerings for next year that will reduce the budget.

A year ago, the college was faced with over $1.7 million in budget cuts. This year, an infusion of one-time money from the federal government and tuition increases saved the college from deeper slashes.

With no economic relief in sight, the institution is once again faced with needing to slash $1.5 million from its operating budgets. Officials admit there is no more fat to trim. It is now down to taking muscle. They have to try and find a way to minimize the damage to the institution.

Tuition will most likely increase and a maintenance contract for the buildings and grounds will be allowed to lapse, saving $50 to $100 thousand dollars. But that still leaves the administration faced with $500 to $600 thousand dollars to eliminate from the academic budgets.

Many months of studies and research have gone into the process of considering which programs that, if eliminated, will have the least detrimental impact to the school. Aspects considered include the examination of historical and current enrollments, needs of students entering the workforce or transferring to a baccalaureate program or other institutions, impacts to associate degree programs, effect on the college's ability to perform its overall mission, potential for further growth and program costs relative to student enrollments.

The board went into executive session and emerged with recommendations based on those criteria that concluded that the following programs/degrees should be discontinued or modified:

Associate of Applied Science and one-year certification in Graphic Design

Associate of Applied Science and one year certification in Computer Networking

Associate of Applied Science in Administration Assistant/Information Processing Specialist

Associate of Applied Science in Electronics with modifications to 1-year program

Associate of Applied Science in Building Construction Management with modifications to one - year program

While the board hammered out these decisions, campus life continued for most of the students. They moved about campus, seemingly oblivious to the fact that weighty decisions about the fate of some of their programs were being made at that moment.

For faculty and staff, the ramifications of the next several months are taking their toll. One staff person who did not want to give his name said, "I have had ulcers for months and it's not getting any better. You can't move ahead because you don't know what the future is going to bring." That sentiment was repeated over and over from faculty and staff alike.

When the board returned to general session, the recommendations were given and a vote was taken. It was unanimous.

The cuts recommended today are most likely just the tip of the iceberg, stresses CEU President Mike King. There is still a million dollars to strip out of the budget. These recommendations need to be approved by the Utah State Board of Regents and need to be made as quickly as possible. Faculty cuts as a result of this move will need to be given before December so anyone that is facing job loss will have the required six months notification. Other cuts within existing programs may also still be recommended as necessary. Those will not need regent approval and will take place before December as needed

Even that may not be enough, as CEU is watching the upcoming legislative session with crossed fingers. Legislative budget analyst Spencer Pratt will visit the campus in two weeks to hopefully give the board some insight as to what to expect in the upcoming session.

Board of trustee chair, Lynn Stevens, told the small gathering that the most difficult aspect was the reduction in force the college was forced to pursue. He stated that, despite all the tough work the board had already completed, the worst emotions are yet to come.

On a bright note, CEU President Mike King stated that his attendance with the executive transition team for the merge with USU has been going well. He added that he is pretty comfortable with the decisions being made, and that most concerns addressed are shaping up in CEU's favor. A final draft will be released by Dec. 11.

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