Petersen: Cutting programs necessary at UT Knoxville

Petersen: Cutting programs necessary at UT Knoxville

By: The Associated Press

The Messenger 06.11.08

By KRISTIN M. HALL
Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — University of Tennessee President John Petersen said cutting academic programs at the Knoxville campus was necessary to absorb a $21 million budget cut without increasing tuition by double-digits.
Petersen told the executive and compensation committee of the UT Board of Trustees on Friday that he wants to limit next year’s tuition increase to 6 percent for undergraduates. He said students and parents shouldn’t bear the burden of the cuts in difficult economic times.
More than $11 million will be cut from the Knoxville campus. That will include the phase-out or elimination of three programs: the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, the Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate program and a minor dance concentration.
Petersen said the decision to cut the programs was made by deans of the colleges and the programs did not have a large impact on other academic majors.
But the head of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology said terminating the program would have “a significant impact on Knoxville and the surrounding area.”
Ilsa Schwarz said the decision announced earlier this week shocked her, and she urged the trustees not to eliminate the program.
UT Trustee Spruell Driver questioned cutting a successful program that serves the public through services at the department’s Hearing and Speech Clinic.
“I’ve been flooded with anecdotal and big picture information about all the good this program does in clinical work in East Tennessee,” he said.
The elimination of specific programs will prevent the university from making drastic cuts across the board that could have a larger and longer impact, Petersen said.
“If we cripple the university across the board, the ability of our programs to come back is going to be terribly difficult,” he said.
Petersen also said the university system will not be able to offer salary increases for faculty and staff this year, despite being below average in compensation among peer institutions. Petersen also said that fees were not increasing significantly.
UT-Knoxville was the only campus to eliminate programs, but the system’s other campus are also facing a budget shortfall. UT Chattanooga’s reduction amounted to $2.6 million, UT Martin totaled $1.9 million and the UT Health Science Center $2.6 million.
Cuts at those campuses will be primarily in travel, repair and maintenance expenses and unfilled faculty and staff positions, but Petersen said academic programs could also be cut in the future.
“What Martin and Chattanooga did was look at vacant positions with the idea of going back this summer and look at potentially making cuts like Knoxville,” Petersen said.
The full Board of Trustees meets in two weeks.

, , , , ,

Leave a Comment