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No sacred cows in final recommended cuts at MTSU

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The final proposal is in and every department on MTSU’s campus will feel the pain of budget cuts.

University President Sidney McPhee released today the final recommendations from the “Positioning the University for the Future” initiative, after having reviewed proposals from its Steering Committee over the weekend.

Click here to download the entire report in pdf form.



“The recommendations in the report that are now under consideration, will not only help us effectively address the critical budget challenges that lie ahead of us but also provide direction for the future of the institution,” McPhee said.

The report proposes drastic cuts to temporary faculty, elimination of some majors and departments and consolidation of some university units.

“As I have reminded the University community throughout this process, I have not yet approved any recommendations and have not made any final decisions and will not do so until our faculty, staff, students and other key constituents have had an opportunity to offer feedback not only on the Steering Committee’s recommendations but also on my preliminary recommendations as President,” McPhee said.

As reported earlier, the final report recommends cutting temporary faculty from “overstaffed” departments.

By eliminating 32-40 temporary professors, the university can save up to $2.9 million in fiscal year 2009-10.

The Steering Committee also recommended cutting 20 percent, or 44 total of the university’s majors, targeting every college on campus.

Majors targeted for elimination include (but not limited to) are:
- Plant biology,
- Applications of Math
- Astronomy
- Public finance, general finance,
- Outdoor Recreation,
- Modern and Contemporary Art History,
- Bachelor degrees in French, German and Spanish,
- Public History,
- And Philosophy.

The committee also recommended cutting the following departments as a whole, keeping only general education classes:
- Physics,
- Geosciences,
- Philosophy and
- Criminal Justice Administration.

The committee also recommended the elimination of June Anderson Women’s Center and Off Campus Services for a savings of $250,000.

The committee did support the idea of creating a Media Center, where Sidelines and WMOT will be spared. The Media Center would house all university media, including its radio and television stations, as well as print products.

The report also includes ideas to cut energy consumption and costs, as well as developing sources of income outside the university.

Over the next month, McPhee will meet with stakeholders and review all long- and short-term strategies and budget issues.

MTSU’s Faculty Senate will formally respond by April 6 and McPhee will hold two campus-wide forums April 1 and 2.

McPhee formed the strategic work groups, as well as a steering committee to look at how to the university might eliminate waste, consolidate resources and generate new funding sources for the future, as well as look at cutting university jobs and possibly future classes offered.

McPhee said previously he expects the university will have to cut a total of $20 million to $22 million from its $345 million budget before 2010.

The cuts include an expected $10 million to $12 million decrease in state funding in the next academic year. These cuts are on top of the university losing more than $6 million in state funding over the summer with another $4 million in October.

The effects of the federal economic stimulus package on higher education are yet unknown. But Tennessee’s Finance Director Dave Goetz expects the state to receive around $350 million, specifically for higher education, to reduce tuition increases.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.
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Members Opinions:
March 02, 2009 at 3:07pm
So cutting 32-40 "temporary" professors saves 2.9 million? Temporary professors are paid an average of $72,500.00? What does a tenured prof make? I'm beginning to see why tution is growing....wow
March 02, 2009 at 3:52pm
Wil2hike, my neighbor is a retired prof. He has a saying: "If the taxpayer only knew".
March 02, 2009 at 4:17pm
Aren't we trying to get a badly needed Science building? If so, then why are 2 of the 4 departments being eliminated in the Science areas? It is extremely short-sighted to do away with science and math majors/ departments and still hope to produce a well-educated graduate who may go on to professional degrees. Our local economy will never attract high-tech, science & math-based companies if we do not have the labor force to work in these types of jobs. While my degree is in health sciences, I would think that you need strong science departments--physics and geosciences--to educate students in "green" technology, which Tennessee is trying so hard to attract. I can't imagine the largest public university in Tennessee without a Physics department.
March 02, 2009 at 4:34pm
That is funny you stated what you did les216, maybe the county schools could do away with science, history, and math. Then look at what we will have at graduation. I have to side with our president when he says it is time the ceos of companies stop using funds to pad their paychecks, pay for those private jets and fancy drapes in the office and use the taxpayer money where it is needed. The time will come for them to make their money.
March 03, 2009 at 9:22am
Enrollment is way up. Tuition is way up. So whats wrong with this picture. Should the money from tuition be funding the university. Or does it go into the states general fund to be spread all over. Something tells me the board of regents isn't laying off.
March 03, 2009 at 9:56am
The admin of MTSU is quick to recommend to cut farm programs and the mass comm programs, but will not mention the athletic programs that are money hogs. Anyone that is a proponent of the athletic departments will always say that the football and basketball programs provide funding for themselves, but they fail to mention the upkeep of stadiums, cleanup from the pregame drinking parties in the grove, work crews for the stadiums and gym, assistants, and other costs. Who pays for security for games? More money from MTSU PD. What about Title 9 scholarships? Everyone forgets that for every male scholarship, there must be a comparable one for women. Are those sports self supporting? I don't think so.
It is time for people who care about MTSU to stand up and be heard. The social dynamics of high school and college still show up today: The athletics get all the attention, and the academics are pushed to the side. If you don't believe me, watch the firestorm that would start if you tried to cut the football and baseball program. Just try to complain to the Administration about the farce of a "dry campus" on game day, when the entire grove turns into a beer garden, and opposing team's fans comment about the drunk crowd, which has the reputation as the worst in the Sunbelt.
Cut the fat, not needed education. I had rather have 10 good ag majors than 100 all conference players that can't complete a sentence. We need to think about the message we are sending to our students.
March 03, 2009 at 10:15am
If you scanned the report you would see that temporary professors are paid $40K on average (for a heavy teaching load). The report looks at savings from cutting various numbers of temporary profs. The 2.9 million would require letting go far more than 40 temps.
March 03, 2009 at 11:33am
aljo - point taken, somewhat..from the report -on page 6- there apprears to be some "new math" calculations "20 temporary faculty x $4,000 = $800,000" but it does apprear that other than this glaring basic math error from our most educated citizens ultimately temp profs do make $40K. Not knowing the workload of a "temproary professor" I won't comment on whether they are underpaid or overpaid. I would ask why there are so many temps and if they are "substituting" for "permanant" professors that remain on the payroll as I know happens in some cases. For the record, I am NOT saying that MTSU is any more or less wasteful than other state institutions (or commercial banks for that matter).
March 03, 2009 at 1:02pm
I would think that you need strong science departments--physics and geosciences--to educate students in "green" technology, which Tennessee is trying so hard to attract. I can't imagine the largest public university in Tennessee without a Physics department."

Couldn't have said it better myself....
March 03, 2009 at 4:05pm
I would rather have my farmers educated to grow my food then to be hungry and watch men try to score a point for four quarters.
March 03, 2009 at 6:36pm
With one or two exceptions, the plan calls for firing the lowest paid employees. That probably does not include those who serve the president in catered events in his home and in his suite at the football stadium.

The figure for savings by cutting temp faculty probably includes benefits which can amount to as much as three or four hundred dollars for each thousand dollars of salary. Health insurance is a major component of the benefit package. I assume temps will be replaced by part time adjuncts who are paid far less and who do not receive benefits. Certainly not a move in the direction of quality.

March 03, 2009 at 7:11pm
Just close the campus all up and move to shores abroad. Seems everything else is.
March 03, 2009 at 8:32pm
Heh. Love this...

15. Music
16. Military Science
17. Foreign Lang. and Lit.
18. Speech and Theatre
19. Educational Leadership
20. Health and Human Performance
21. Physics
22. Computer Inform. Syst.
23. Geosciences
24. Political Science
25. Journalism
26. Art
27. Computer Science
28. Engineering Tech.

Music rates above Physics, Computer Science, Engineering Tech.

Pickin' and grinnin'. Must be some powerful tenured profs aboard the Music Department.. )
March 04, 2009 at 5:56pm
That serr8d is funny, pickin' and grinnin'.
March 06, 2009 at 9:07am
Would suit me just fine to eliminate all the sports from the campus and make it an institution of higher learning. Put the emphasis on that instead of playing ball.
Does MIT have a football team?
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