Academic Affairs Budget

  1. The process your campus used to arrive at the reductions submitted.  Who was involved, when did planning begin, when were reductions implemented, how were faculty/staff/employees/others notified?  As part of our preliminary planning for the anticipated 2011-13 state revenue shortfall, the Administration made the decision to reduce budgets by 10% prior to FY 2009-10 in order to accommodate both the recurring 5% reduction and any one-time reversions during 2009-10.  In responding to directives from UNC-GA, the FY 2009-10 recurring reductions were focused on administrative expense areas and the one-time reversions were met with the remaining funds from the 10% campus reduction which were primarily in faculty positions and library acquisition lines.  While some portion of these remaining funds were reallocated in FY 2010-11 on a recurring basis to fund 25 new faculty positions and on a one-time basis to meet enrollment pressures and graduate assistant funding requirements, the majority of this reduction balance is available to lessen the impact of the FY 2011-12 funding loss on the core academic programs and services.

The reduction requirement was then allocated to the University with student financial aid budget exempted from the reduction, utilities, library, and college budgets were protected with a lesser percentage reduction and administrative units received an approximately 40-50% larger percentage reduction.  The budget reduction planning included frequent discussions between the Administration and the University’s Executive Officers, Deans’ Council, and University Budget Advisory Committee (faculty and staff representatives).  Information related to the budget reductions is routinely posted on the University’s Budget Central website (http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/rm/budget_central/ ) which is open to all. 

  1. How do the campus reductions follow the requirements in Section 9.6 of the budget bill? (Included in materials for reference).  Campus instructions emphasized the need to address the requirements of Section 9.6 which were further stressed during the information session with college and division fiscal officers.  Reductions in these specified areas are reflected as the highest priorities on our budget reduction narrative.
  2. Using writing prompts below, please document the impact of the 2011-12 state budget reductions:
  1. Increased workload:  Although not yet fully quantified, workload increase of the remaining staff is inevitable.  Because of fewer sections, the Poole College of Management, for example, will increase some of their Accounting and Economics classes to exceed more than 350. This means the workload of faculty is increasing as they teach more students, grade more papers, mark more tests and spend additional hours with students during office hours.  Further, continued increases in teaching load for faculty in a research-extensive university, particularly research-active tenured/tenure-track faculty, leads to less research activity, less external support of research, less graduate student enrollment, less overall revenue for the university and ultimately to a less competitive university. This drop in quantity and quality of externally funded scholarly activity eventually impacts the quality of the undergraduate experience by not attracting nearly as competitive a community of faculty and students at all levels. 

    The Facilities Division implemented a desk-side recycling and waste initiative that has employees personally responsible for the removal of waste and recycling from their work areas.  University Housekeepers are now responsible for the maintenance and collection of the large waste and recycling containers in the buildings’ common areas.

  2. Reductions to Centers & Institutes:  Reductions to several centers make up the $1.1 million in cuts to Centers & Institutes. The nearly $378 thousand reduction to the Golden Leaf Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center constitutes a damaging impact on their ability to even maintain, much less expand, their course offerings.  The courses impacted have a 50% hands-on laboratory component. The number of laboratory experiments will be reduced or there will be more students with less hands-on experience with the experiments.  The hands on experience is very valued by industry and has resulted in above average placement rates for students.  Examples of these courses are Principles and Applications of Bioseparations, Microbial Technology, and Insect Cells Protein Expression.  This round of cuts to the centers and institutes will impact 8 FTEs.  Salaries and benefits make up nearly 53% of the $1.1 million.  Additionally, the impact of cuts to centers and institutes means reduced level of support for the Principal Investigators and loss of competitiveness in pursuing federal grants.
  3. SAAO/Middle Management positions cut:  Senior and middle management positions will be reduced by nearly $4.6 million. These reductions were taken by colleges as well as support units.  Of the 48.92 FTEs impacted, 13.44 FTEs resulted in Reductions in Force.  Among those RIF’d were 2 police lieutenants.  These eliminations will reduce the amount of overall supervision/management of  line officers, primarily after regular business hours/days and during special events.  The Vice Chancellor for the Office of Extension, Engagement and Economic Development will retire at the end of the calendar year 2011.  That office will close and the efforts housed there will be reassigned to other campus units.
  4. Reduction in services/hours:  The Office of Information Technology has implemented measures that will reduce the Help Desk hours to Monday through Friday 8:00-5:00.  This means there will be no help desk staff support after hours.

    Additionally, the Libraries will be forced to divide its current staff between the Hill and Hunt Libraries, essentially operating two main libraries with the same number of positions.  The university’s request for 24 additional positions and operating funds for the new Hunt Library was not included in the Biennial Budget submission.  The lack of an adequate number of positions will inevitably reduce library operating hours and levels of service.  The Expansion budget request is still required for FY 2012-13 when the Hunt library will open; the preliminary planning by the Library to staff both libraries with the current staff from DH Hill Library is neither a preferred nor rationale approach for staffing a major new library.  Specific details for splitting the DH Hill staff to operate and manage two library facilities are still being developed. Likewise, reductions in other units, like the College of Design and the College of Engineering, will impact hours of operations for labs.  This results in much higher student/faculty ratios and a reduction in the quality of student experience.

    • How will the student experience change at your University?  In general, the budget reduction action of the university will reduce the availability of course sections and will reduce students’ educational options.  In some cases, sections of courses are being combined into larger sections, making it more difficult for students to create schedules that allow on-time graduation.  Larger sections may also affect the classroom experience and reduce the frequency and quality of faculty interaction with students.  In other cases, reduced capacity in required courses may force students to limit their educational aspirations and exploration.  Students may not be able to complete minors due to capacity constraints.  Students will become more reliant upon summer session and distance education courses to complete degree requirements, which will increase their overall educational costs.  Reductions that are being made in advising, tutorial programs, and student service areas will negatively impact all students, especially those students in “at risk” populations (e.g. first generation, low socioeconomic status).
    • How did you go about making the decisions of areas to reduce? See Item #1 above which addresses the allocation approach used by the Administration.  Each dean and vice chancellor then prepared their unit reduction plan with a focus on the University’s new Strategic Plan http://info.ncsu.edu/strategic-planning/
    • How many fewer course sections will be available in Fall 2011 than were available in Fall 2010 or Fall 2009?  How many on an academic year basis?It is important to note that final decisions on the budget reduction occurred after course offerings for Fall 2011 had been set and students had enrolled for courses.  Therefore, the full impact of the budget reduction on course sections will not be realized until the 2012-13 academic year.  Academic programs have not been changed, as that is a long process involving faculty governance and must take into consideration external accreditation issues. Electives and non-essential courses were targeted for reduction, but very few courses are readily identified within that category. Courses that are required (or part of a restricted list) for one major, are used as free electives for other majors. Situations where required course offerings were reduced were generally the result of reductions in the use of non-tenure track faculty.In aggregate, Fall 2011 currently has 172 fewer sections than Fall 2010, despite increased headcount enrollment.  Unfortunately, the aggregated numbers hide much of the budget reduction impact on the classroom and student experience.  For example, the University’s General Education Program is designed to ensure that students write and speak competently in their discipline, but 12 sections of the required Advanced Writing courses (331seats) have been cut from the Fall 2011 schedule of courses.  Other core areas of the General Education Program, such as Biology, History, and Communication, have been similarly impacted.  The effect of budget reductions is also being felt within the major.  For example, senior-level Biochemistry courses have been reduced by over 200 seats; Chemical Engineering courses reduced by over 120 seats; Electrical and Computer Engineering courses by over 100 seats; Civil Engineering by over 150 seats; and, senior-level Animal Science courses by over 100 seats.  These losses did not represent excess capacity and will negatively impact student experiences and progress toward degree.
    • Can you estimate the impact on time to degree?  Despite a coordinated effort to mitigate the effect of budget reductions on students’ progress toward degree, the magnitude and impact of these cuts on the academic enterprise will reduce student persistence and graduation rates.  It is likely that the average course load of students in the system will drift downward as they find it difficult to enroll in courses and create schedules that promote their timely graduation.  If this is the case, then graduation rates may fall for several years, until curricula, course delivery methods, and enrollment levels can be adjusted to match current fiscal realities.  Inevitably, additional time to graduation increases the cost of education for the state and the student.
    • Are technology methods being employed to help save state funds? The university is continually working to make better uses of technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our programs, services, and processes.  In this reduction we have, to the extent possible, protected ongoing allocations to upgrade our major financials, HR, and student administrative systems, with enhanced imaging capability and a modern asset management system, that will be implemented during 2012.  However, the information technology budgets were not spared in this budget reduction and some related reductions in force and software curtailments have already occurred.  However, it is naïve to think we could design, develop, and implement significant new IT applications with reduced resources and within a few months time that would replace abolished staff positions.

Here is a list of some investments made in business processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as campus automation to conserve energy and reduce cost:

  • Computerized Maintenance Management System:  Recently implemented a web-based system to integrate all departmental work management functions and to achieve greater automation of billing and invoicing processes.  The new system integrates "Market Place" purchasing to achieve higher efficiency in procurement of supplies and materials.   Includes automation of materials procurement to expedite materials from the warehouse and local vendors.
  • Energy Accounting System:  Implemented a comprehensive platform for capture of energy consumption data, utility invoices, charge-back invoicing, cost allocation, and historic trends.  The system captures data from over 800 meters, 350 buildings, and 5 central energy plants.  Billing and cost allocation functions are now automated and integrated with the work management system, as well as Peoplesoft financials.
  • Fleet Management System:  Implemented a platform for management of all fleet management functions including asset management, maintenance history, preventive maintenance scheduling, customer scheduling for Motor Pool rental vehicles, mileage management, and fuel consumption.  Also manages a key fob system for managing fuel dispensing, mileage tracking, and automated cost assignment for fuel.
  • Campus Wide Enterprise Automation for Utilities:  Implemented initial phases of a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system to obtain electrical system real time information that can be used to support energy management procurement and management strategies.  System is used to determine opportunities for demand management and the related cost reductions.
  • Building Automation Systems for Energy management:  Long-term implementation of distributed digital control systems for all major buildings to support energy management strategies and to manage environmental conditions in buildings.  Includes HVAC control, lighting controls, enthalpy sensors, energy optimization programs, unoccupied building set-backs, and remote control.
  • Computer Access for All Employees:  Implemented computer workstations in all employee work areas to allow access for automated leave management, on-line W-2 forms, on-line access to payroll data, automation of daily time records, etc.
  • Key Management Data Base for Better Campus Security:  Implemented a web-based database of all data for management of key holders, key inventories, key bitting schedules, and security authorization levels to enhance campus security and to prevent loss.
  • What non-state funds were identified to help offset the impact of the state budget reductions?  What impact will that have on the other fund sources? NC State has identified $4 million that will be transferred to non-appropriated funds.  This amount represents position funding for 63.46 FTEs and the associated operating expenses in areas where a staff or faculty member’s work assignment may be supported by other funding sources such as Foundations, Facilities and Administrative Receipts, State Appropriated Receipts or Auxiliary Sales and Service.  This will limit the University’s ability to use these other funding sources for their intended purposes like providing valuable extension and outreach services and funding equipment maintenance and replacement.
  • What changes have been implemented to stretch your state dollars further?  Efficiencies identified?  The Chancellor endorsed a strategic realignment plan in March that is focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the University’s programs and services – http://www.ncsu.edu/about-nc-state/university-administration/planning-leadership/.  Work on these realignments is underway and a number are actually in the process of being implemented such as elimination of two vice chancellor positions and offices and reorganizing Student Affairs, Undergraduate Academic Programs, and the Office of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development will occur by the end of 2011-12.
  • Please include any reorganizations that have been implemented and would be comfortable being discussed as examples.  In addition to the realignments noted in the preceding bullet, the Divisions of Diversity and Inclusion and Equal Opportunity and Equity have been combined into a single unit reporting to the Provost.  The Divisions of Student Affairs and Undergraduate and Academic Programs merged into one department under the leadership of the Director of the Cooperative Education Program – http://www.ncsu.edu/uap/programs/co-op.html. A special committee appointed by the Provost is assessing the current organizational structure of the colleges to determine if realignment would be beneficial, especially in the science, agriculture, and natural resources disciplines.   The University has named a task force to continue the review of academic programs during the 2011-12 year. The primary purpose of this review is to strengthen NC State’s academic programs overall by improving their vitality, effectiveness, and efficiency. Additionally, NC State is moving towards streamlining business processes for routine human resource and financial transactions.  These Business Operations Centers would provide shared services across colleges and departments.
  • Include other campus-specific examples that help to illustrate the true impact of reductions implemented due to 2011-12 state budget cuts.
    • Servicing an underserved 5-county area, the Upper Coastal Plain Learning Council will reduce the number of free or affordable educational and professional development workshops for teachers, students and local workforce.  Nash, Edgecombe, Halifax, Northampton and Wilson counties are already in need of additional teachers.  The reduction to this program will limit the opportunities for teachers, principals and administrators to address student success and retention.
    • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development are  streamlining business processes to reduce the number of administrative staff in departments supporting human resources and financial transaction processing and services.
    • Nearly $2.5 million of the reduction for the College of Engineering will impact faculty recruitment efforts. This represents a significant loss of capability to provide the kind of faculty startup needs to be competitive in today’s market. Typical startup needs are in the $400-$500k over 2-3 years range or higher and consist of specialized equipment needs, graduate student, summer salary support, supplies and travel. Further, this level of reduction affects the college’s ability to retain faculty since similar equipment, travel and technology upgrade needs are also generally part of their retention. Additionally, depleting operating funds will adversely impact the instructional lab provisions (most notably Civil Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and First-Year programs). Therefore, reductions in courses offered and lab sections are unavoidable.
    • It is likely that this reduction will compel the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to reallocate courses, which will increase the number of students faculty serve.  This increased instructional capacity creates the need for larger classrooms, hybrid courses and other mechanisms where available.
    • About 85% of the nearly 156,000 student credit hours in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences are taught to students in other colleges.  Fewer seats will impact retention and graduation rates, with consequent increase in the cost of education for NC families.  Higher student/faculty ratios and reduced investment in instructional laboratories and field experiences will impact the quality of learning afforded to many students.
    • The growth in student population and reductions sustained by the Poole College of Management have forced changes in the delivery of courses.  Some sections in this college will increase in size to levels that decrease effective interaction between students and faculty.  Some classes, like Accounting and Economics, will increase to 350+ students per section.  Additionally, the workload of faculty is increasing as they teach more students.
    • The acquisitions budget for the Libraries will be reduced by over $2.6 million to protect its current staffing levels which will have to be partially reassigned to provide staffing for the new Hunt Library when it opens.  The 2011-13 Expansion Budget request for the Library staffing support was not recommended to the Governor by the Board Of Governors.
    • There will be a significant impact on advising and counseling as the Office of Advising, Support, Information and Services will be eliminated.  This elimination will result in reduction of services to students and advisers across campus, but it will also permit a reorganization of the overall advising operations within the Division of Undergraduate and Academic Programs.  The reduction in the Division of Enrollment Management and Services will impact their ability to provide high-quality assessment and counseling services for a growing financial aid applicant population.
    • The Public Safety Division plans to reduce 6 fire protection and police positions thus lessening critical supervisory, crime prevention and front-line support to the university.
    • The Facilities Division will eliminate its state funding for the Painting program. This means classroom, lab, and exterior painting will only occur when a campus department is able to pay for it.
    • Elimination of an accountant position in Contracts & Grants will delay response time to customers and overburden an already fully-tasked staff.  Additionally, it may increase risk situations such as audit findings and failure to request reimbursement of costs in a timely manner.  The elimination of a position in Accounts Payable will increase processing time from 3 to 6 days for employee travel reimbursement.
    • The Office of Information Technology (OIT) implemented severe measures in order to meet its share of the reduction.   This will have an impact on all campus users.  In addition to transferring 2.41 positions to non-state appropriated funding sources (i.e. charging for services), 21.75 positions will be eliminated.  This means Help Desk hours will be reduced; data centers will have less staff coverage; administrative support will be significantly reduced; security services will be impacted; upgrades and new services will be delayed; enhancements to PeopleSoft (HR, Finance and Student) and Advancement systems will take longer; payroll reporting will be delayed by a business day; training, consulting and web services will be reduced; Walk-In-Center services for faculty and staff will be reduced; classroom design support will be reduced and necessary equipment refreshes will have to be postponed.  This reduction will reduce OIT’s ability to handle projects critical to improving efficiency in business and academic functions and providing strategic solutions to all campus units.