Lecturers and students are potentially affected by budget deficit.
Richard Boone is the dean of the College of Natural Resources and Sciences. Boone attended the open budget forum on March 1 to share valuable information to students, staff and faculty about the financial situation of the CNRS.
“We’ve been in deficit mode for the last five years so it’s in the academic year of 2012-2013,” Boone said.
Boone wanted those who attended the forum to know there are many reasons as to why there is a deficit within the CNRS.
“I wanted them to understand more information about the status of the college’s financial condition and why it is that we have a deficit, who has been influenced by changes in the number of students in the college [and] changes in the number of instructors in the college,” Boone said. “I felt that they should be as informed as possible to help them better understand our situation in the college and also university wide.”
As the dean of the CNRS, Boone said it is his responsibility to bring the deficit spending down and that he and his team are taking actions to move in that direction.
“Reduction of weighted teaching units, offering a class every other year instead of every year, every other semester instead of every semester or combining sections in some cases or reducing the required class for a major,” Boone said. “There are some trade-offs here that are difficult trade-offs.”
At this point, it is unclear what the final decisions will be about the reductions.
“We take our job very seriously, and we value students highly. It’s our mission here,” Boone said. “The values of the faculty here and the administrators of the college are as strong as ever and we’re dedicated as ever to students’ education and their success at Humboldt State.”
Anthony Julien is a zoology major at HSU and is part of the CNRS.
“I greatly appreciate the professors who have a little more stability in their job for speaking up and saying the things ever single person in there wanted to ask,” Julien said. “One professor informed us that because of budget cuts, there will be 700 less seats available in the biology department, the department with the greatest volume of new and current students. Now there will be less courses available and I am worried if I’ll be able to get into my courses and graduate.”
Anthony Baker is the budget analyst for the CNRS. Baker came to the forum to support the dean with the budget presentation.
“It’s a pretty complex problem, as the dean had mentioned, because of the deficit that’s associated with the lecturer budget,” Baker said. “It’s easy to point to that and say this is where the deficit came from. It’s a complex college, but that’s the primary place where we can see the greatest amount of money spent where we didnt have money to spend.”
Baker said there’s a variety of different ways the deficit can be resolved.
“One way to approach that is to reduce the total number of seats that a lecturer may be teaching. This is one of many different ways we can do this. It’s really depending on how we want to approach it,” Baker said.
Melanie Michalak is part of the strategic planning committee for the CNRS. Michalak’s role in the committee was to look at bottleneck courses, which are courses that have low success rates. In those classes, students either get the letter grade of an F, D or WU.
“If we’re able to eliminate or lower [the] success rate we can potentially have more seats for students,” Michalak said. “We’re really trying to identify those courses and work with instructors to provide more opportunities for students to pass the classes. That speeds up their time for graduation and it decreases our cost for tuition, we can offer slightly less seats and everyone can graduate. That’s what everyone on the committee talks about. That’s our goal the future.”