How to Deal
with Additional Budget Shortfalls
Faculty Compensation Committee
November 25, 2002
The Faculty Compensation Committee met on November 8 and discussed the issue of potential additional budget cuts due to further revenue shortfalls.
Laying off faculty to meet budget shortfalls, even on a temporary basis, risks severe damage to the university. Laying off tenure-track faculty would be catastrophic, severely impacting hiring and retention for many years to come. On the other hand, adjunct faculty teach large numbers of students in important service courses, for very small salaries. Reductions in this teaching resource would lead either to insufficient enrollment space in essential courses, or to increased regular faculty teaching loads and rapid loss of credibility as a research institution. Any temporary increases in teaching loads of regular faculty should be made with the commitment that relief - and if possible compensatory temporary teaching underloads - will be provided as soon as the budget crisis is alleviated. Temporary loans of faculty from other departments and/or external organizations could also relieve overload.
Eliminating open positions should be done equitable. Departments with a large number of open positions should not have to take the brunt of the budget cuts. This could be decided on the College level.
Any reduction in force should be done according to AAUP guidelines.
Attractive voluntary retirement, as well as phased retirement schemes, could be offered. Leaves of absence and sabbaticals could be encouraged. However, these have to be balanced against the resulting increase in teaching load in the department.
In general, furloughs would be the preferable option to deal with additional budget shortfalls of up to another 5%. The furloughs could be progressive with income, while protecting low salary TA, RA, faculty and staff.
For budget shortfalls in excess of another 5%, new initiatives would have to be abandoned and the size of the institution would have to be reduced. This should be done by horizontal across-the-board reductions. In general, vertical cuts in the form of eliminating obsolete or duplicate programs is an on-going task and should not be accelerated due to budget shortfalls. These actions are on a different time scale, i.e., they take, in general, longer than the standard economic cycle.