Sacrificing the queen or the whole campus? The case of UNO

University of New Orleans logoThe University of New Orleans is gearing up for more cuts, apparently. Its president has proposed so many cuts that one observer thinks UNO is over.

An individual round of cuts to academic programs could well make for what I’ve been calling a queen sacrifice, but the UNO case might go beyond that.

So what are these cuts about?  Jarvis DeBerry lays out the list of 7 programs (out of 80):

The Department of Geography would be eliminated. So would the following programs: B.S. in early childhood education and M.Ed. in special education, Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, Ph.D. in special education, M.A. and Ph.D. in political science and M.A. in romance languages.

More: “Four positions would be cut from the library, and department chairs would have to teach at least two courses in the spring and the fall.”

Personnel being riffed amount to 26 faculty and stuff, plus some indeterminate number of adjuncts.

The causes are familiar to the queen sacrifice: reduced enrollments and funding.  UNO did experience the unusual horror of Hurricane Katrina, which knocked student numbers down, although they’re apparently returning to pre-storm levels.  Funding reductions are partly due to the state of Louisiana cutting back on public higher education.  Fos: “There’s no new money from the state and probably won’t be for many years, so I have to find money to reinvest in programs that this university should be doing,”

But wait, as the commercial used to say, there’s more.  According to president Fos’ published document, two more phases of cuts lie a  head in the spring and fall of 2015.

And there have been previous cuts, along with plans for more reductions.  For example,

Since starting at UNO in January 2012, Fos previously has cut more than 110 positions and closed a popular on-campus child care center.

“More than 110 positions.”  DeBerry has more.

What can we learn from this case?  To begin with, there is the unique factor of a devastating storm, although climate change makes more such storms, and academic impacts, likely.

UNO presents the all too common specter of reduced state funding for public institutions.

Its enrollment issues have a rare cause, but enrollment pressures are also widespread.  In short, another case to watch.

PS: all news stories I can find are dated to president Fos’ statement of December 4th.  Have there been any subsequent developments?

 (thanks to Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe)

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One Response to Sacrificing the queen or the whole campus? The case of UNO

  1. Pingback: Louisiana considers a whole pile of academic sacrifices | Bryan Alexander

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