Another Way to Handle Budget Problems

Following up on Charles’s post last week about Penn State’s “political stunt” over Gov. Corbett’s planned cuts to the university, it might help PSU president Graham Spanier to look south for some coping mechanisms. Charles explained that Dr. Spanier “is threatening to close campuses, warning he’ll have to raise in-state tuition, and accusing Gov. Corbett of asking students to bear the brunt of his cuts.”

Compare that to the measures North Carolina State University Chancellor Randolph Woodson is taking, with the Tar Heel State facing a $3.7 billion budget hole:

Woodson has endorsed a set of recommendations prepared by university officials that would eliminate as many as 600 courses that haven’t been taught in five years, set minimum class sizes and consolidate numerous offices and divisions at the sprawling, 34,000-student institution.

“We can sit back and wait for our budget to be cut, and then we can distribute those cuts across all the units on campus, but that’s not very strategic,” Woodson told The Associated Press.

The scope of reductions won’t be fully known until after the state budget is finished later this year, but the recommendations accepted by Woodson call for eliminating a number of high-ranking administrative positions, including two vice chancellors and one dean.

Other recommendations include a comprehensive review to be completed in 2012 of 28 undergraduate and 32 graduate degree programs lagging behind other programs in at least two of five variables that include enrollment, number of applications and degrees awarded.

The plan was made public late Monday, and reaction from campus is still coming in, but Woodson said most of the responses he’s heard so far are a mixture of apprehension and optimism.

Think Penn State might be able to find some worthwhile savings if they just, ahem, look?