Despite the fact that neither the College nor the state knows the extent of any cuts we will endure, the Clark College administration has directed the Budget Committee to recommend a process for cutting $3.6 to $5 million by August 2020.
Budget Committee faculty members are very concerned with the Budget Committee's focus on Instruction. What's ironic is the fact that because the College has collected data on our instructional programs, they are now being brought forth as a target for cuts recommended by the committee. In fact, the Program Viability Rubric has been introduced by non-faculty committee members as a means to cut programs.
In addition, members of the Budget Committee have suggested 1) reforming tenure, 2) cutting "unneccessary" programs, 3) streamlining programs, and 4) increasing teaching loads.
In spite of their differences, Budget Committee members divvied up six different focus areas or sub-committees. Executive Cabinet then assigned themselves to the sub-committees:
Team 1: Review Administration/Leadership Roles Duties (changes from 2008-current)
Bob Williamson, Sachi Horback, Val Moreno, Senseney Stokes, Daniel Rogers
Team 2: Review Programs/Student Services for Efficiencies budgetary reductions
Bill Belden, Sachi Horback, Rashida Willard, Janice Taylor, John Maduta, Janice Taylor, Siri Wickramaratne, Masha Cole
Team 3: Review Instructional Programs Fill Rates/Student Success/Continuation Factors
Sachi Horback, Genevieve Howard, Cath Busha, Nathan Webster
Team 4: Review College Budget Distribution for Proportional across the board cuts
Rashida Willard, Kelly Love, Nicole Rogers-Marcum, Layla Otey, Dee Harris
Team 5: Personnel Options: Furlough Possibilities/Reduce contracts/Early Retirement
Bob Williamson, Miles, Jackson, Payam Damghani, Layla Otey
Team 6: Comb through original feedback for any feedback that is possible to be considered
Val Moreno, Jim Wilkins-Luton, Kelly Love, Gene, Biby, Kim Sullivan, Sally Demos
These sub-committees plan to present their preliminary recommendations to EC on August 4. Final recommendations are slated to be presented on August 18.
While it's more and more evident that the Budget Committee will now use the Program Viability Rubric to make cuts, what the committee and the College sorely lack is comprehensive data reflecting the efficacy of Student Affairs programs such as enrollment, registration, advising, career services, and other student services. Faculty members on the Budget Committee argue that until the same kind of scrutiny and data assessment is provided for Student Affairs, the committee cannot make informed decisions about what cuts would help the College and what cuts would hurt the College.
According to an email from the VP of Student Affairs, "“The college does not have a comprehensive program assessment process for non-instructional programs.” Faculty Budget Committee members believe that this lack of assessment actually protects programs in Student Affairs while Instructional programs that are regularly assessed are easier targets for cuts.
When it comes to quantitative data for our student services (ie. How many times does the average student contact admissions to complete the enrollment process? How many students make initial contact with admissions but never enroll?), we do not yet employ comprehensive assessment strategies to collect the granular student data that would allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of each role, department or program in Student Affairs. Without this information, our budget picture is wholly incomplete, and budget cut decisions are significantly uninformed.
Faculty Budget Committee members say they need our help. Please pay attention, read the CCAHE weekly updates, write your US Senator and urge them to sign the HEROES Act. Write the sub-committees listed above. Be ready to argue that until all areas of the College are scrutinized like Instruction, budget cuts are significantly uninformed. Be ready to argue that cuts without a plan for innovation to follow (especially now) will not move the College forward. Be ready to argue that these cuts are in vain if we don't start solving the roots of our problems.
Featured photos above of Clark's cherry blossom trees by Ryan O'Meara.