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UNL chancellor proposes cutting 2 academic programs, 18 positions
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UNL chancellor proposes cutting 2 academic programs, 18 positions


Two academic programs and 18 faculty and staff positions are among the $2.9 million in cuts proposed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green.

In addition to the electronics engineering degree program and the Center for Instructional Innovation, Green also proposed "significant funding reductions" to support for faculty and other academic programs.

The proposed reductions — which were presented to the Academic Planning Committee on Wednesday and will be the subject of a May 2 public hearing — were announced in response to a 1 percent loss in state aid to the university system.

Green said in a statement Thursday afternoon the proposed cuts "will have a significant impact upon the university's operations and our students, faculty and staff."

"Even though they are more manageable than what we would have faced, they still represent lost opportunities for the state's premiere land-grant research institution," he added.

The proposed cuts include:

* $771,400 from the Rural Futures Institute, which works with Nebraska communities to address economic, demographic and technological issues, by reducing the operational budget and five faculty positions.

* $577,013 from the Survey Research and Methodology Program, one of four doctoral programs like it in the world, which trains students to collect and analyze regional, national and international survey data. Two faculty and two staff positions will be eliminated.

* $350,000 by eliminating the electronics engineering bachelor's degree program, as well as three faculty positions that support it. The existing electrical engineering program offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will serve students interested in electronics engineering.

* $309,751 by eliminating unspent funds held by the executive vice chancellor's office to address salary inequities, retain faculty or invest in other faculty at UNL.

* $169,230 by closing the Center for Instructional Innovation, which formed in 1993 to apply research in cognitive psychology, linguistics and cognitive science in education.

* $165,793 from shifting the salary of the director of the Buros Center for Testing, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the science of testing and assessment, from state funding to fee-based funding.

* $556,813 reallocation from the Department of Statistics in the College of Arts and Sciences to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Mike Boehm, vice chancellor of IANR, said the Department of Statistics has been jointly operated since 2003. Shifting four statistics faculty positions to IANR will reduce funding to the College of Arts and Sciences, and force IANR to find four positions to cut in order to balance its own budget, Boehm said.

"There is a constant churning of open faculty lines," he said, adding that between 20 and 35 faculty leave or retire from IANR each year.

Roughly $3.4 million in cuts put forward by Green last fall were approved by the Academic Planning Committee, including funding reductions to the Rural Futures Institute and UNL's summer school programs.

UNL was set to consider another $4.3 million in proposed cuts beginning in December, but after the financial picture at the university brightened somewhat, Green said more cuts were not needed at that time.

A loss of state aid, both for the remainder of this fiscal year and for the 2018-19 fiscal year, forced Green to invoke the budget-cutting process once more, however.

Because the cost of salaries and benefits to personnel make up 80 percent of UNL's expenses, Green said the proposed $2.9 million in cuts necessitates the elimination of "personnel who are critical to our mission."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


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