BLUFFTON ANNOUNCES REDUCTION IN OPERATIONS BUDGET FOR 2009-10
At a campuswide meeting for faculty and staff on May 14, Bluffton University President Dr. James M. Harder announced a number of actions aimed at achieving a balanced budget for the 2009-10 academic year. Steps taken include reductions in both staffing and programs.
"Bluffton is responding to the challenging economic environment with coordinated actions that are necessary to achieve our aim of a balanced budget while maintaining our commitments to program quality and our ability to grow and innovate in areas of student demand," said Harder. "We are making reductions in a number of areas of the university in ways we believe will be least disruptive to our students’ overall experience and their range of opportunities."
The reductions in employment include the retirement of two staff members in the library and in the building and grounds department, and the resignation of two faculty members in the science department and in the Pathways to Mission and Vocation program. Those positions will not be filled. In addition, one faculty non-tenure track position in the education department and two staff positions in the education department and financial aid office will be eliminated. Several other staff positions have changes in responsibilities, and a grant-funded position will be phased out as the program ends.
To reduce its program budget, the university will eliminate four academic majors which have had low enrollment in recent years. Students currently enrolled in the affected academic majors—computer science, information systems, family and consumer science education and family studies—will be able to complete their degrees at Bluffton, but these majors will no longer be available to new students.
In addition, beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, Bluffton will no longer offer men’s and women’s tennis as varsity sports. Harder stressed that Bluffton remains committed to providing its many student-athletes with a competitive NCAA D-III athletics program with a tradition of academic achievement, competitive performance and high quality facilities.
These coordinated actions will reduce the university’s operations budget by more than $350,000 next year. An additional $120,000 reduction will be realized in the subsequent year, from a total university operating budget of $32 million. Bluffton had already reduced non-personnel expenditures during the previous two academic years before considering reductions in personnel.
"The administration arrived at these decisions carefully and in consultation with faculty and program directors," Harder said. "These are difficult decisions because they affect members of this community who are our colleagues and friends. But, they are necessary to strengthen the financial integrity and mission so that Bluffton can continue to meet the needs of our current and future students."
Bluffton University Public Relations Office, 5/14/09