Please review these “frequently asked questions” about the impact and anticipated future outcome of the Budget Reduction and Recovery Plan for Jackson State University.
1. What was the process used to develop the recommendations contained in the plan?
A very deliberate process was followed to reach the recommendation for implementing these measures that included notifying each affected unit, whether academic or administrative, and allowing them to provide input into the recommendation.
Every possible precaution was taken to ensure that none of the measures adversely affected the prime mission of the university, which is educating our students. This includes accreditation.
In reaching these decisions, the university solicited input from a broad representation of the camp community to develop efficiency measures and make recommendations that are included in the Budget Reduction and Recovery Plan.
2. Who was involved in the decisions?
Four campus advisory groups, called Advanced Development Groups, were established to study and recommend efficiency measures in academics, business and finance, enrollment management and administration.
Academic deans also contributed a great deal to the development of these reorganizations based on their knowledge of how their colleges could best operate. We also worked in close collaboration with IHL staff and our consultants throughout this process.
3. How many positions were eliminated under this plan?
To date, 42 filled positions have been lost due to a reduction in force that generated a total cost savings of approximately $2 million. NO FACULTY POSITIONS WERE ELIMINATED. In addition, 65 currently unfilled positions will not be filled.
4. What academic units are being affected by the plan?
Specifically, some of those measures include:
- Reorganize and rename the School of Journalism and Media Studies to the Department of Journalism and Media Studies under the College of Liberal Arts
- Consolidate the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages and the Department of Speech and Communications, renaming the unit the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages and Speech Communications
- Consolidate the Department of Art and the Department of Theatre renaming the new unit the Department of Art and Theatre
- Consolidate four academic units in the College of Business —Department of Accounting, Department of Economics, Finance and General Business, Department of Marketing and Management and Department of Entrepreneurship and rename the two new units the Department of Accounting, Finance and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Business Administration
- In the College of Education and Human Development consolidate the Department of Special Education and Department of Social and Cultural Studies and rename the new unit the Department of Special Education and Social and Cultural Studies
- Reorganize College of Science, Engineering and Technology from eight departments to five
- Consolidate two academic units, the Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences and Geoscience and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and name the new unit the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Atmospheric Sciences
- Consolidate Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering and rename the new unit the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science
- Consolidate the Department of Industrial Systems and Technology and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and rename the new unit the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Industrial Systems and Technology
5. Were any programs eliminated as a result of the plan?
No. Based on recommendations from the campus-wide Advanced Development Groups, some academic departments are being consolidated, reorganized and/or restructured to reduce expenses and improve efficiency. Although some departments were consolidated to increase efficiency, no departments were diminished or eliminated as a result of the reorganization. All that will change is how the departments will be administered.
6. How will the reorganizations affect students’ degrees?
Students at Jackson State University will continue to receive quality academic instruction and student support services. No classes or degree-granting programs are being cut or discontinued under this plan. Efficient management of the departments benefit students
7. If a student is majoring in Theater, and the Department of Theater is merged with the Department of Art, will that affect their degree track?
The student’s educational experience will not change as a result of any of the measures contained in the Budget Reduction and Recovery Plan. They will take the same classes, under the same professors, and receive the same degrees.
8. Will any of the reorganizations and reclassifications have any impact on the accreditation of the departments or school?
No. Jackson State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. All degrees from the university –baccalaureate, master’s, specialist or doctoral degrees are accredited.
No departmental accreditations will be lost/impacted as a result of this administrative restructuring.
9. Why was the golf program chosen to suspend?
All units on campus were asked to examine their operations in light of the overall budget deficit and make recommendations that would help put the university on sound financial footing. Athletics determined that a two-year suspension of the men’s and women’s golf programs would help them accomplish this goal. ALL student scholarships awarded through these programs will be honored by Jackson State University.
10. How were the positions selected that would be eliminated in the reduction in force?
In reaching these decisions, the university solicited input from a broad representation of the campus community to develop efficiency measures and make recommendations that are included in the Budget Reduction and Recovery Plan. The university did everything possible to avoid implementing a reduction in force. However, due to an additional $4 million in cuts to our state appropriation in FY2017 – and $1.8 million in additional cuts projected for FY2018– it became inescapable. The reductions were reflected in a broad representation of campus, to include administrative positions and academic support. No faculty were included in the reduction in force.
11. If classes are no longer offered at the Madison Galleria location, will students still be able to take their classes? Will they need to transfer to another campus?
Due to lack of demand for classes, it was determined that the classroom space at the Madison Galleria location was no longer needed. Since there were no specific degree programs offered at the location, the location was not considered a campus and no students were enrolled specifically at the Madison location. Therefore students will still be able to continue on their degree tracks and their classes will be offered at a number of existing university locations.
12. How much savings will the Budget Reduction and Recovery plan result in?
All recommendations concerning reorganization and reclassification of divisions, whether academic or administrative, were implemented for the purpose of cost savings and increasing the operational efficiency of the unit. Our objective was to bring our expenditures in line with our projected revenues. Steps were also taken to restore our cash reserves.
The $1.4 million saved by implementing these measures was instrumental in our ability to present a balanced FY2018 budget to IHL this month. An additional savings of $6 million will be reflected on the FY2018 budget from the 42 positions eliminated by the reduction in force as well as the 65 unfilled positions that were eliminated.
13. Was the incoming president, Dr. William Bynum, involved in developing this plan?
No. Dr. Bynum has been briefed about the content and implementation timetable developed by the university.
14. Will Jackson State University make further personnel cuts?
No further cuts to staff are planned at this time. However, fall 2017 enrollment, as well as continuous assessment and evaluation of the university’s financial position may require additional measures be taken. The university will do what must be done to operate in a fiscally responsible manner.