August 18, 2008

ASU announces budget reduction plan

Posted: August 18, 2008

Arizona State University has announced a plan, pending consultation with the ASU University Senate and approval by the Arizona Board of Regents, that will reduce $6 million a year in academic administrative costs as part of its effort to respond to state funding reductions.

ASU has already made tens of millions of dollars in spending cuts, primarily in administrative services and by not filling non-faculty personnel vacancies, to deal with its reduced state appropriation. The university budget was cut $22.65 million in its state appropriation for FY09 and $6.6 million in FY08.

The plan announced today involves the mergers of a number of academic units to streamline the university’s academic administration. The changes would not reduce ASU’s academic offerings. In some cases, duplicative or closely related programs would be combined and, in others, the merger of related disciplines would create new and dynamic academic programs.

By reducing administrative overhead and consolidating support services in several dozen academic areas, the university would save $6 million annually by the end of the first full fiscal year of the plan’s implementation. Students would not lose access to any degree programs and no faculty positions would be lost. Unfortunately, however, two dean positions, 18 department chair positions, and approximately 28 administrative and support positions would be eliminated. An additional 33 vacant administrative and support positions would not be filled. The employees in all these positions have served the university well and have been important members of the ASU family. But reducing personnel is the only way the university can absorb its budget reduction.

The two deanships and 18 department chairs that will be eliminated are all held by faculty who would return to being full-time faculty members. The 28 staff reduced would continue to be paid under the terms of their existing contracts. The university’s Human Resources Department will provide each employee with an individualized information packet as well as employee counseling, outplacement assistance and assistance finding other jobs within the university.

The total number of positions that would be reduced under this plan is less than previous administrative cuts made in response to earlier budget reductions. When these cuts are included with past cuts and positions left vacant, overall staff reductions, totaling more than 250, are proportionate across all four ASU campuses.

During the last six years, ASU has been evolving as an institution and has succeeded in strengthening its academic offerings while tightening its administrative structure. In 2004 a major university-wide academic reorganization across all four campuses eliminated many duplicative programs and offered students a wider variety of programs in such areas as business, education, engineering, and arts and sciences. In 2006 ASU implemented its One University in Many Places plan, which centralized administrative services across all four campuses and reorganized the deans on all the campuses under one provost. This streamlining of the university’s administration helped make the recent budget cuts and planned cuts possible.

These changes have not reduced ASU’s academic offerings. On the contrary, since 2002 the university has increased the number of academic programs to 331 from 273, established 16 new schools (most of them combining disciplines to offer students a more contemporary education), and launched 44 new academic centers and institutes.

In similar nature, the plan announced today would reduce administrative costs significantly and also advance the university by accomplishing the following:

• Merging programs of similar content;

• Promoting natural collaborations;

• Creating synergistically strong academic units; and,

• Building new and innovative program connectivity.

All these things would improve the quality of academic programs and better prepare students to enter the workforce and pursue fruitful careers.

All academic programs would continue where they are for the 2008-09 academic year; all classes for 2008-09 would be held where and when they have previously been scheduled; and in any instance where students will have to move from one campus to another, the move would not take place until the 2009-10 academic year.

Three major aspects of the plan are:

• The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has had a successful track record in establishing schools that move beyond traditional academic boundaries with new collaborative modes of teaching and learning. These include the schools of Life Sciences, Earth and Space Exploration, Human Evolution and Social Change, and Social and Family Dynamics. In this plan, three additional larger and more academically powerful schools would be created to further transform the academic landscape in the college.

• The West campus would benefit by having its programs in global business merge with the W.P. Carey School of Business. As a consequence of this merger, the W. P. Carey School would establish an MBA program on the West campus as soon as possible. The New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at West would be strengthened with the addition of an important undergraduate and graduate communication studies degree program, and the new teacher education program in Downtown Phoenix, called Education Downtown, would become part of the College of Teacher Education and Leadership at the West campus. These changes would sustain and enhance the West campus’s three large, high-quality colleges and would lead to a significant expansion of the student population there. As part of these changes, several smaller specialized programs in the College of Human Services would be merged with similar programs or incorporated into schools more aligned with their mission. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and programs in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management are the only ones that would physically move from the West campus but not until the 2009-10 academic year, joining the College of Public Programs on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

• The College of Technology and Innovation would reorganize into three newly constituted departments, providing a more integrated structure for programs with similar emphases. Programs in computing studies would merge with the Department of Engineering; programs in mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology and those in electronic systems would merge to become the Department of Engineering Technology; and, programs in aeronautical management technology would merge with the Department of Technology Management.

The specific aspects of the reorganization are:

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Establish a school of government, politics and global studies that combines the Political Science Department and the School of Global Studies. This school would build new synergies to address the increasingly complex and global nature of issues related to government, political science, democracy and human rights.

Establish a school of social transformation that combines five academic units: African and African-American Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies, Film and Media Studies, the School of Justice and Social Inquiry, and Women and Gender Studies. The creation of a school of social transformation would foster collaborative approaches to the investigation of the intersections among race, gender, culture, justice and film in America. It would position ASU to lead the nation in education and research directly relevant to these complex and pressing issues. In addition, each of these areas is expected to grow faster than they have been able to as independent units.

Establish a school of history, philosophy and religious studies that combines these three departments to create a research and teaching environment that cuts across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences while maintaining existing degree programs in traditional areas. This school would develop educational and research opportunities at the intellectual intersections of these fields and would focus on major thematic areas such as human events, values and public practice.

W.P. Carey School of Business

Expand the W. P. Carey School to the West campus, offering all the programs it offers in Tempe, including the W. P. Carey MBA program. In merging with the School of Global Management and Leadership (SGML), the Carey School, which is a much larger school, would offer more programs than SGML could by itself.

College of Design

Establish a school of design studies from the merger of three departments into a single administrative school: the Department of Industrial Design; the Department of Interior Design; and the Department of Visual Communication Design.

New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Move the faculty and programs from the Department of Communications Studies currently housed in the College of Human Services to the New College, greatly strengthening the New College and making it more attractive to prospective students.

College of Teacher Education and Leadership

Move the administration of the teacher education program on the Downtown Phoenix campus under the College of Teacher Education and Leadership at the West campus.

College of Public Programs

Merge the Department of Social Work into the School of Social Work. The School of Social Work would continue to offer its programs at the West campus.

Merge the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management into the School of Community Resources and Development. These two programs already partner in offering graduate degrees and would be stronger as a single unit.

Move the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice from the West campus. This school is a natural fit with the other programs in the College of Public Programs. The school eventually would move its classes to the Phoenix Downtown campus.

College of Technology and Innovation

Establish a Department of Engineering Technology by merging the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Technology with the Department of Electronic Systems. These two departments would be combined to focus on applying engineering theory and practice to solutions for business, industrial and government entities.

Merge the Department of Computing Studies into the Department of Engineering. This would combine the best practices in computing systems and software, and provide more direct linkages between general engineering theory and practice with applications in computing science.

Merge the Department of Aeronautical Management Technology into the Department of Technology Management. These departments share an applied workforce develop mission and are a natural combination.

Sharon Keeler, sharon.keeler@asu.edu
(480) 965-4012
Media Relations