Still No Cost Savings On UNI Program Cuts

By Diane Heldt, Reporter

buy this photo Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls. (Courier File Photo)

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By Eric Stidman

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The expected cost savings from planned academic program cuts at the University of Northern Iowa are still not known, officials said in a document released by the state Board of Regents office late Monday.

The 38-page agenda item for Wednesday’s board meeting says the recommended program closures and suspensions are required to allow the university to address budget challenges, both immediate and long-term, and to focus resources on strategic and high-demand programs. In the near term, there is an existing budget shortfall of almost $1 million and known cost increases of more than $4 million for the next fiscal year, regents office staff said in the document.

The list of programs slated for closure has changed slightly since UNI officials first announced the plans about two weeks ago.

The number of undergraduate programs under consideration for termination is now 22, not the 23 originally listed. The number of minors under consideration for termination is 22, not the 19 originally listed. The number of graduate program cuts remains at 16, according to the meeting information. The regents also will consider suspension of admission to eight undergraduate and graduate programs.

Stacey Christensen, public relations manager for UNI, said Tuesday there have been some changes to the list since the announcement about the proposed cuts. The provost’s office is working on getting more information available today about those changes, she said.

The information doesn’t list an expected cost savings from the program closures, saying the total savings is still unknown because affected tenured faculty members are still making decisions about participating in a buy-out incentive program. It says a number of closures and suspensions will result in immediate savings from terminating the employment of adjunct, term and tenure-track faculty. Additional immediate savings will result from the decision of tenured faculty to participate in the buy-out incentive, the document states. UNI officials have said 29 faculty members were invited to meetings offering more information about the buy-out program.

The board meets Wednesday in Iowa City.

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