DULUTH -- University of Minnesota Duluth administrators on Wednesday announced a plan to cut the school’s operations and management budget by $5.2 million next year, intended to erase its recurring deficit, reduce job cuts and save academic programs.
The cuts include 24.7 full-time equivalent positions and will directly affect 29 faculty and staff, as well as 13 graduate teaching assistants.
As a part of the plan, UMD’s College of Liberal Arts and School of Fine Arts will merge on July 1.
No programs will be eliminated, though three of them will change:
The school’s jazz studies major will be replaced by a concentration. Students currently in the major will be able to complete their degrees.
- The school’s early childhood studies programs will be temporarily suspended and relaunched at a later date. Students admitted to the programs through Fall 2020 will be able to complete their majors.
- New admissions to the master’s degree program in English will be suspended for two years.
UMD’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, a professional development resource for educators on campus, also will close, and $225,000 will be trimmed from UMD Facilities Management’s repair and renovation budget.
A total of $3.45 million will be trimmed from the school’s Division of Academic Affairs, which includes each of the school’s colleges and comprises 75% of UMD’s operating budget. According to UMD spokeswoman Lynne Williams, the cuts will be distributed as follows:
$750,000 for the College of Liberal Arts
$650,000 for the School of Fine Arts
$600,000 for the College of Education and Human Service Professions
$600,000 for central Academic Affairs
$500,000 for the Labovitz School of Business and Economics
$350,000 for the Swenson College of Science and Engineering
The rest of the $5.2 million will come from cuts to other Academic Affairs units, including the Natural Resources Research Institute and UMD’s information technology department; and from non-academic units including Student Life, Finance and Operations, Development, University Marketing and Public Relations, athletics and the chancellor’s office.
“This is difficult,” UMD Chancellor Lendley “Lynn” Black told the campus community in an e-mail Wednesday morning. “While there are solid financial reasons for doing this work, it does not reduce the pain that our employees will feel and the concern from our students and community. These are tough decisions and reflect the challenges that universities across the nation face.”
Black noted in the e-mail that university leadership helped lessen the impact by finding alternative funding and taking advantage of open positions and retirements, saving about 30 full-time equivalent posts.
The budget cuts are being made as UMD faces growing costs, declining enrollment and stagnant revenue. Enrollment for fall 2019 stands at 10,858, down from a high of 11,806 in 2011, according to a written budget briefing provided by Williams. The school is expected to bring in about $115 million in tuition revenue in 2020, virtually unchanged since 2011.
Adding to the pain are projections that say high school graduation rates will drop significantly starting in 2025.
In closing his message to campus Wednesday, Black kept his focus on the long term, and he highlighted a commitment to seeking additional resources from system leadership and state government.
“Ultimately, these budget decisions will strengthen UMD’s financial position and are necessary steps to best position (the school) for an outstanding future,” he wrote. “I appreciate your advocacy and passion for UMD.”