64 staff positions eliminated, furloughs imposed to meet budget restrictions
Southeastern will eliminate 64 positions, impose furloughs ranging from two to four days for some personnel, and drastically cut departmental operating funds in order to meet its new fiscal year budget, university officials announced July 15.
In an e-mail message to faculty and staff, President John L. Crain outlined the university's approach to handling a budget that reflects $10.1 million less when compared with the beginning operating budget last fiscal year. The reduction includes a $3.4 million midyear cut sustained last December which carried over to the new fiscal year and another $6.7 million reduction announced at the end of the recent legislative session.
"We tried to minimize the impact of these cuts on our academic programs as much as possible. Also, it was fortunate that we moved quickly to freeze most vacancies resulting from retirements and resignations that occurred since the mid-year budget cuts were announced last December," he said. "As a result of the cut, 45 of these vacant faculty and staff positions have been eliminated from the operating budget for the new fiscal year. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the budget cut and the need to exercise prudent management of our remaining resources have forced us also to eliminate 19 occupied positions. This was not an easy decision to make, and we regret the negative impact these layoffs will have on people's lives."
Crain said that while the university will receive about $2.9 million in additional revenues as a result of a five percent tuition increase and increases in graduate course rates, much of these resources will be needed to pay a $1.4 million increase in required contributions for employee benefits and state risk management as well as increases in other fixed operating costs such as utilities.
He said the university's budget reduction plan, which has been developed over the last several months, includes an approximate $7 million cut from operating funds, such as supplies, travel, printing, operating services, acquisitions and repairs and in athletics. Another $3 million in savings will be achieved through furloughs and reduced salaries and benefits associated with the eliminated positions.
"We especially tried to minimize the impact of the budget cut on faculty in order to preserve our instructional capacity for the upcoming year," he added. "No full-time permanent faculty have been terminated as a result of the budget reduction; however, we will closely monitor faculty workloads to ensure efficient utilization of instructional resources. In addition, all overtime and supplement compensation will be tightly controlled."
Crain said Southeastern generally operates with a lean organization structure, maintaining one of the most efficient student-to-employee ratios in comparison to similar institutions in Louisiana and the region.
"In addition, we have a long-standing practice of routinely evaluating academic programs to ensure their viability," he said. "Programs have been phased out when they became less attractive to students, less relevant to the area's workforce needs, or less financially viable. The response required to address the immediate budget cut could have been much more dire had it not been for prior budget prudence."
A furlough plan, which is subject to approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, is expected to be implemented in the fall and spring semesters. All staff and non-tenured faculty will be subject to furloughs of from two to four days, depending on salary level. The furloughs will include all department heads, deans, and other members of the administration, including vice presidents and the president.
Crain said Southeastern's administrative team is already looking ahead to find additional savings, as all indications point to significant budgetary uncertainties for the next two fiscal years.
"We remain committed to maintaining our core academic mission in the face of budget challenges," he said. "Our enrollment continues to be strong, and this fall we expect the largest number of well-prepared new freshmen in the university's history. As faculty and staff, we remain focused on the success of our students."
Artists participating in the 2009 Artists Showcase as the University Residence gather at the residence with Southeastern President John L. Crain (top row, right) and Dale Newkirk, curator for the show.
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Left, Cheryl Chaucer discusses artist Keith Perelli's painting, Envelope, with Dr. Crain and husband Bill Chaucer; right, Southeastern student artist Robby Klein and Jody Rogers of Ponchatoula view Klein's digital print, Time Served.
Art showcased at President's Residence
The work of more than two dozens artists from the north shore region, are now being exhibited in the public areas of the president's residence in Southeastern's third annual Fine Art Showcase. The artists were hosted at a special reception held recently at the residence July 16.
The exhibit focuses on Louisiana artists living and working in the Hammond and north shore area and includes paintings, sculpture and photography. The exhibit was arranged by Dale Newkirk, associate professor of art and curator and director of the university's art galleries.
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Erdmann accepts AD position at South Alabama
Southeastern Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann announced that he will leave the university, effective Aug. 7, to accept a similar position at the University of South Alabama.
Erdmann, who was hired at Southeastern in May 2007, worked in a number of capacities at USA including assistant athletic director and director of the Jaguar Athletic Club. Prior to being hired at Southeastern, Erdmann spent five years as the director of athletics at the University of North Alabama.
In his time at Southeastern, Dr. Erdmann did an excellent job in helping to strengthen the universitys athletic program, said President John L. Crain. His energy and enthusiasm will be missed. We will move forward expeditiously to ensure sound management of Southeastern's athletics program."
"I wish to express my thanks to everyone in the Southeastern family, Erdmann said. The University is in great hands and the future is bright with tremendous coaches and student-athletes committed to achieving great things with dignity and class. Tina and I are forever grateful to those people within the community and region who have extended their hand in friendship and made our time here one which will always be cherished.
During Erdmanns two-year tenure at Southeastern, he guided a program that captured its first-ever Southland Conference Mens All-Sports Trophy and captured two conference championships. He played an instrumental role in facility upgrades, including a new strength and conditioning center and a new academic center.
A search for Erdmanns replacement will begin immediately.
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Special half-price tickets offered for Goin' to Jackson
The Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts is offering half priced tickets for faculty, staff and students for the Aug. 22 performance of "Goin' to Jackson, Jamie Wax's hit one-man show that has been described as "drop-dead hilarious perfection."
The tickets will be limited to two for faculty and staff, and one for students with ID.
Wax's comedy details the lives of five patients at East Louisiana State Mental Hospital in Jackson who are competing to be the Louisiana State Mental Health poster model and spokesperson. The Baton Rouge native has played the wacky characters to sold-out audiences in Louisiana and across the country for 16 years.
In the serio-comic piece with music, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the downtown Hammond theater, Wax switches from one character to the next, sharing their stories along with side-splitting observations, powerful truths, and surprising moments of drama.
For tickets, visit columbiatheatre.org or call the Columbia box office, 985-543-4371. Box office hours are noon-4 p.m., M-F.
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Center for Faculty Excellence
Workshops - All workshops are held in Tinsley Hall, room 103, unless otherwise noted. Registration is required 24 hours in advance of all workshops. Walk-ins are welcome, if space is available; please call the center to verify. For information or reservations, contact the center, 5791 or email@example.com.
Thursday, July 23, 10-11 a.m. -- Respondus Lockdown Browser: This hands-on workshop will focus on setting up and using the Respondus Lockdown Browser. Respondus LockDown Browser is a customized browser that increases the security of online testing in the Blackboard Learning System. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser to access an assessment, they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. Students are locked into an assessment until it is submitted for grading. Space is limited. Additional Respondus workshops will be held on Aug. 3 and 4.
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The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs recently recognized faculty and staff for their efforts to obtain grants and funding for Southeastern programs. From left are Colleen Klein-Ezell, Department of Teaching and Learning, who with Camille Yates was recognized for receiving the largest number of awards made to the university; Jason Hancock and Rebecca Sue Parton, Department of Educational Leadership and Technology, recognized for receiving the largest research award; and Ron Abel, Upward Bound, cited for receiving the largest award received for other university divisions.
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Dr. Lillian Stiegler (Communication Sciences and Disorders) was a keynote speaker at the second annual Summer Autism Institute sponsored by the Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities Project (LASARD), an ongoing grant project administered through LSU Health Sciences Center. Her lecture was entitled "Exploring the Communication Spectrum," and addressed the various communication profiles of individuals with autism, from nonspeaking to echolalia to generative language. Dr. Stiegler also provided an afternoon session entitled, "Ideas for Improving Social Communication in Higher-Functioning Adolescents and Adults."
Dr. Andrew Traver (History and Political Science) delivered the keynote address at the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University on the occasion of the Feast of St. Bonaventure. In this paper, he discussed the secular/mendicant conflicts at the University of Paris highlighting the roles played by the Franciscans Bonaventure, Thomas of York, and John Pecham.
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