My co-chair Gavin Leach and I once again thank the members of the Coordinating Committee (Professors Heidi Blanck [TOS] and Alec Lindsay [Biology], Brandon Sager [Assistant Director of Facilities], Tristan Ruiz [ASNMU president], administrative Vice Presidents Canale and VandenAvond) for working into the evening to review nominations for the Support and Academic Task Forces. Deliberations were purposeful and thoughtful. I think what made the decision-making difficult was that so many outstanding nominations were received. By the end of the meeting, we had an outstanding slate of recommended individuals for the two task forces.
The Support Task Force co-chairs are Tricia Bush, Campus Recreation and Jeff Korpi, Director of Housing. The Academic Task Force co-chairs are Professors Carol Johnson (COB) and David Wood (Director of the Honor’s Program). Members of each Task Force are listed on the Planning for Distinction Website: http://www.nmu.edu/planningfordistinction/working-groups. Task Force members have completed two days of intensive training with our consultant, Larry Goldstein, and now their work has begun.
And as the work has begun, unfortunately so have some rumors. My focus of this update is to dispel the rumors that have made it to my desk.
Rumor #1. Twenty percent (20%) of the university services and academic programs will be cut.
Response: As Larry Goldstein stated during his information sessions and during the task force training, we could not possibly cut 20% of our programs or services. We would not be NMU if we did that and we intend to remain NMU. It simply is not conceivable to cut 20% and remain viable.
Rumor #2. Data will not tell us the contribution that each academic program makes to the overall credit hour production of the university.
Response: Data exist at the course and student level. The attribute of each student in each class is known, including their major, second major and minor. For example, those enrolled in Esoterica 101 are Esoterica majors, second majors or minors in Esoterica. All other students in the course are enrolled for General Education purposes or using the credit toward General Electives. All of the aforementioned categories will be attributed to the programs in the department of Esoterica: Majors, Minors, Service/Elective courses.
Rumor #3. Given the quintiles, 60% of programs and support services will lose resources.
Response: While it is true resources from some programs and services will be redistributed, those programs and services falling under transformation may require resources in order to transform and therefore will receive resources. Those programs and services in the 4th and 5th quintiles may or may not lose resources. It will depend on the recommendation and decisions of the senior leadership. If something is deemed vital to the university, it will not necessarily lose resources. Nothing is automatic and all recommendations will require serious deliberation in consideration of resource changes. Remember, the goal is to get to appropriate funding and resourcing as indicated by the evidence.
Rumor #4. Larry Goldstein said (at the information sessions) that those individuals working in programs or support services in the bottom quintile would lose their jobs.
Response: This is not what Larry said during the information and training sessions. There is no goal to eliminate X number of positions or programs. The goal is to identify which programs and services are contributing to the success of the university and which ones are not contributing as well as they might, or as well when compared to other programs and services. These programs and services may require phase out or change. Regardless, it is important to emphasize again that all contracts will be honored.
Rumor #5. Departments placed in the 5th quintile must cut 20% of their personnel.
Response: Programs will populate the quintiles – not departments. Many departments have several programs. Placement of a program in the 5th quintile means the program is recommended to either lose an undetermined amount of resources or be phased out. We have phased out programs throughout our history. For example, currently there are 4 programs departments have recommended to phase out which have been on the suspension list for 4 years.
It is important to emphasize that NMU is using SRA as a strategy to move away from across-the-board cuts. We are not in crisis mode and therefore we are using this assessment to help us plan.
If you did not have the opportunity to attend an information session, here is the link to a recorded session where additional resources may be found at: http://www.nmu.edu/planningfordistinction/resources
Controlling rumors during this process is imperative. If you have heard something questionable about the process and have a question about it, please submit it to the website (http://www.nmu.edu/planningfordistinction/resources). The question and the response will be posted within the week. We want everyone to be informed and we intend to keep this process fair and transparent.
Thank you everyone, and especially those who brought questions about the rumors addressed in this update to us so that we could provide answers.
The first campus-wide forum update on SRA is scheduled for from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, March 16, in the UC Great Lakes Rooms Huron/Erie. I hope to see you there!