SGA update: Nov. 6, 2017
Provost Karl Kunkel presented the Academic Affairs restructuring plan as part of the Reorganization Forum hosted by Student Government Association Monday. Kunkel’s presentation was an encore of the presentation he delivered on Oct. 25 to an all staff and faculty audience. Kunkel said his role as chief academic officer means he oversees all programs, and the deans of each college report to him.
A major concern was in maintaining conditions to keep the current budget for the university, Kunkel said, in light of Missouri’s recent cuts in funding for schools. The budget review spreadsheet was approved by the Board of Regents in June, and has since been important in how the university has considered restructuring. The three fiscal year strategy for reducing base funding would involve Academic Affairs identifying $495,500 through reorganization or reduction.
Academic Affairs accounts for 50.7 percent of the overall university budget, and would account for 21 percent of budget reductions. Kunkel said health insurance premiums also increased this year. The university’s health insurance policy has involved paying health insurance premiums for faculty, while the employee would be paying out of pocket for their family’s premiums.
Kunkel said there has been no talk of faculty reduction, and that the university is trying to protect its academic core. He said the restructuring process is outlined within the Faculty Handbook, and a proposal would be made for restructuring within the first week of the spring semester.
Kunkel said the university would be merging departments and colleges that could work cohesively and sensibly together. Academic Affairs intends to finalize reorganization plans by May 2018, with the changes taking effect July 1, 2018.
The first scenario, according to Kunkel, was the most minimal. It involves reorganizing departments in the College of Liberal Arts by splitting up the Department of Anthropology, Geography and Modern Languages. Those would then be sorted into the Department of Communication Studies and Modern Languages and the Department of History, Anthropology and Geography. The other two colleges would then be the Holland School for Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Education and Human Services. This would save the university $356,000, and the university would have to look elsewhere to make up another $844,000.
The second scenario would create the College of Sciences and Humanities, the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Engineering, Technology and Agriculture. The departments with these colleges mostly would remain within the condensed schools, but the Department of Mass Media would be moving to the Harrison College of Business and Entrepreneurship. This would save the university $469,000, with the university still needing to find other options to save another $731,000.
The third scenario, however, introduced the College of Arts and Sciences. This model did have more thorough changes. This plan would create a College of Liberal Arts and Humanities with three different schools. These were the School of Science, Technology and Agriculture, the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Harrison College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Kunkel said he wanted to make clear students’ programs and degree programs would in no way be changed. It is all a matter of rearranging departments and not changing the education or the classes
“This will not affect the student experience,” Kunkel said.
Kunkel addressed several questions from the Senate. When asked if there would be tuition increases, Kunkel said Academic Affairs does not want to put the burden on students. He said Southeast takes pride in being much more affordable and said if there was any tuition increase, the efforts of reorganization to save money would help to make the tuition increases as modest as possible.
He also stated the details are not defined, and there may still be changes to each model and to outlooks about what changes need to be made. When asked if online courses may become more common to save money, Kunkel said mostly web courses do not save much money because professors are paid the same and there is necessary technological accommodations.
Following the end of Kunkel’s presentation, it was announced there was a proposal to end the Career Launch program, and this would be up for discussion in December. The members also addressed the elections coming up and members not returning would need to be prepared to help fill their vacancies.
The “We Are Open” Campaign is an SGA action launched to get students attentive to the Senate’s meetings and discussion. The effort involves table tents in dining halls to spread the message, Facebook branding, informative videos, spotlights of past and ongoing projects, updated calendars on SGA-sponsored events and meetings with constituents.
Other brief announcements involved information about projects like Trash Art and the Of the Month Award, which involves nominating a campus club that students believe is making a difference to have it reviewed and spotlighted. Chi Alpha Campus representatives presented to the Senate as part of a request for a grant to continue their spiritual outreach on campus. The Student Missouri State Teachers Association requested a grant on behalf of their trip to Columbia, Missouri, for a teaching conference.
In closing, announcements were made that Redhawk Warrior Night would be hosted in the near future at the Student Recreation Center. The Student Actions Council will be hosting a Free Hugs with Ken Nwadike at 7 p.m.
There will also be a Discussion with the Deans in which senators can meet with the head of their particular college on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m in the UC Ballroom.