University of Southern Maine President proposes round of cuts to fill $14M shortfall

8:43 PM, Mar 14, 2014   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The President of the University of Southern Maine told the faculty senate today the university can no longer afford all its programs and would need to cut several that have insufficient student interest.

USM President Theo Kalikow started off the meeting by saying, "this is bittersweet."

USM is faced with a 14-million dollar budget shortfall due in part from declining student tuition, a lagging economy, and reduced state funding.

Kalikow proposed eliminating the following four programs:

  • American and New England Studies
  • Geosciences
  • Arts and Humanities at Lewiston-Auburn College
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies

"The first three simply are not sustainable due to a number of factors," said Kalikow. "Among them low enrollments, unsustainable student-to-faculty ratios, and low graduation rates."

Alternatively, Kalikow suggested that Recreation and Leisure Studies become part of an existing discipline.

"My interest is to work collegially to figure out the best way for our campuses to create a more seamless identity and student experience."

The Faculty Senate was asked to review ways the Lewiston-Auburn College could be integrated with the rest of USM.

Mark Lapping of the Muskie School of Public Service said, "How can one be a real college without strength in the arts and humanities at LAC? I'm concerned that the perspective is literally of bean counting alone, and not a concern of quality."

Kalikow urged senate members to suggest alternatives to her proposals no later than May 5.

"There may very well be better ideas out there, which, if implements, should still get us to the $14 million and a bright, more sustainable future," she said. "I need those ideas."

A campus-wide discussion of the president's proposal will be held on Wednesday inside Hannford Lecture Hall at 9AM.

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