UTC has cut $500,000 from its operating budget and eliminated $200,000 in unfilled tenure-track faculty positions, according to officials with the University of Tennessee system.
“It is tough,” said Richard Brown, vice president for finance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “These are the toughest economic times that we have been in, and it is only going to get tougher. I am trying to brace the campus for some really tough planning.”
UTC athletics will lose $60,000 in recruitment and travel funds, and the library will lose $50,000 in funds that would have gone to buy periodicals and books, Dr. Brown said.
Academic affairs will eliminate several unfilled positions from its budget, and a $60,000 position in student development will be lost, he said.
“These reductions were very painful,” Dr. Brown said. “Work at the university will likely double for a lot of people. We will be asked to do a lot more with a lot less.”
UTC has had $4.1 million cut from its budget so far this year, and Dr. Brown said he expects that number to climb to $8 million by the end of the year.
Both the UT system and UTC have been reviewing academic programs and expenses to identify specific cost-saving measures. The system already has implemented an aggressive energy-savings policy, halted travel and frozen hiring and equipment purchases, said Gina Stafford, a spokeswoman for the UT system.
At a Wednesday meeting in Nashville, a UT board of trustees committee on effectiveness and efficiency reviewed cuts that have and will take place, she said. The committee is expected to announce soon what academic programs and faculty and staff positions will be cut as state universities continue to weather a tough fiscal year, according to a statement.
Gov. Phil Bredesen has said he expects to cut about $150 million from the state’s higher-education budget.
“The governor has made very direct and clear statements (that) the state’s payments are going to be reduced July 1 and probably in the 10-to-15-percent range for higher education,” UT President John Petersen said in a statement. “When July 1 rolls around, and there’s a $150 million cliff for higher education, of which $48 million to $72 million will be our part … we can’t throw up our hands and say ‘We can’t do that.’”
UT officials are bracing for cuts that likely will be announced by the state in mid-December. With those numbers in hand, Dr. Petersen said, he plans to present a budget to Gov. Bredesen in January.
Dr. Petersen said his goal is to protect the system’s core missions: education, research and outreach.
“Targeted, specific cuts rather than across-the-board reductions are key to the university positioning itself to grow and to continue to be a leader in higher education once we are able to emerge from the other side of the economic downturn,” he said.
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...