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Message for UNCG Students and their Families

Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 under Budget News

Like all institutions in the state, UNCG will face significant challenges following the budget reductions forecast for 2009-10 and beyond. These reductions come at a time of record enrollment for UNCG, further intensifying their impact. In response, the University is enacting several measures to protect the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms, studios, laboratories, and other environments where instruction, research, creative expression, and service take place.

Despite our efforts, it is inevitable that the anticipated budget reductions will have detrimental effects on academic life at UNCG. These reductions are simply too large to be absorbed without significant impacts to both classroom and non-classroom student experiences. Because the UNCG community values transparency I want to share the following information with you. This brief document is designed to help students, their families, and the public to understand: (1) the efforts we are taking to maintain the academic excellence for which UNCG is known, and (2) the likely impacts of the budget reductions within the University.

In an effort to maintain the quality and affordability of a UNCG education, some of the actions presently planned or being undertaken includes the following:

  • To make more class seats available in courses taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty, a significant portion of these faculty members have volunteered to increase their teaching workload.
  • To help students to make the transition to college life, and to sustain or enhance UNCG’s retention of at-risk students, all senior academic administrators have volunteered to teach academic orientation courses (UNS 101) for freshmen.
  • To increase available spaces in existing classes, the Deans have asked the Registrar to move nearly 400 classes to larger rooms and add additional seats.
  • To increase course selection options, academic departments are seeking to increase their distance learning course offerings.
  • To ensure that students have access to critical speaking-intensive and writing-intensive courses, section sizes in these specialized courses have been increased 20%.
  • To increase efficiency and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings, selected administrative units have been merged into a leaner organizational structure.
  • To limit the number of faculty positions cut and therefore continue to offer as many classes as possible, several non-instructional centers and institutes and dozens of staff positions are slated for elimination.

These extraordinary efforts have saved institutional resources and generated a significant number of courses and classroom seats that otherwise would have been lost, but the anticipated budget reductions will nonetheless pose significant, negative consequences. Some of these impacts include the following:

  • A net loss of classes and approximately 6,000 classroom seats at a time of major enrollment growth.
  • Reduced availability of course options, which may slow our students’ progress toward their degrees and their entry into the workforce.
  • Larger classes, resulting in higher student/faculty ratios.
  • Less staff support for essential functions such as academic advising, library services, financial aid counseling, student recruitment, honors programming, and other student support initiatives.
  • Diminished support for research and public service programs, which will reduce UNCG’s engagement with businesses and industries of the State and Piedmont Triad, while also stunting UNCG’s national research profile.

Higher proportional budget cuts were made in non-Academic Affairs areas of the University, which will have significant service implications. Non-classroom functions will have fewer staff and resources to support the needs of students and faculty and the entire campus community. There may be reductions in hours for some services, delays in getting materials and/or services, and a greater possibility of disruption of support services, including computing.

UNCG will continue to take the steps necessary to protect academic quality in the long term as we implement the budget reductions necessitated by the present economic climate. These impacts are real, and it is important for UNCG’s friends, community partners, and constituents to be aware of these daunting challenges and UNCG’s response to them. The needs of UNCG’s students always will come first, and we will continue to address them to the best of our ability.

Posted in Budget News.