Colleges, schools brace for proposed state budget cuts

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The Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business

The Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business has a plan for how to handle these budget cuts if they are enacted.

Gerry Muuka, interim dean of the College of Business, said the budget cut will result in a hiring freeze for faculty searches in the College of Business but will not eliminate a position that is currently filled.

He also said the College of Business will reduce the use of adjunct faculty and reduce the number of graduate assistants hired to assist faculty with research.

“We will keep the teaching graduate assistants for COM 161 and CSC 199; however, some streamlining will occur in the manner in which we offer, especially the COM 161 labs,” Muuka said.

However, Muuka is confident the College of Business can handle a budget cut.

“In an email I sent to all faculty and staff in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business on Wednesday afternoon, I commend them for being a cohesive group, and that I am extremely confident in our capacity as College of Business to meet the challenges before us now, and any unanticipated ones going forward,” Muuka said.

Lydia Kiesewetter, junior international business major from Louisville, Kentucky, said she believes the budget cuts are “unnecessary and crazy.”

She said although professors may not see a big influence, students in the College of Business see the downside losing TAs that help students, as well as not having the chance to experience new professors.

She also said that Bevin’s budget cuts to higher education make her nervous about finding a job after graduation, and how that will affect her ability to pay back student loans.

“With cuts in the states, jobs in Kentucky could be dismissed altogether for the sake of money,” Kiesewetter said. “This is also alarming because we have loans to pay back, and we all want jobs when we get out.”

Leslie Shockley, junior finance major from Paducah, Kentucky, said she is afraid that Bevin’s budget cuts will affect the availability of technology and resources that will be available to students in the College of Business, such as the Bloomberg Terminal.

Shockley said the Bloomberg Terminal is “a computer system that allows you to analyze and monitor real time financial data.”

She also said that the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville also have Bloomberg, “but their students don’t have access to them like Murray State students do.”

“Technology is a huge part of the business world, and without these resources, Murray State students will have to do an excessive amount of independent studying to remain competitive in the job market,” Shockley said.

Alicia Steele, Staff writer

The College of Humanities and Fine Arts

The newly-proposed budget has everyone squirming, but the College of Humanities and Fine Arts approaches the challenge with a level head and suggestions for overcoming the upcoming cuts.

Faculty members and students of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts each have individual plans and suggestions for what cuts Murray State can afford to make. The suggestions range from cutting specific sports programs, like the football program to, not hiring new professors for positions where other professors have retired or left the university.

Charlotte Beahan, professor in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, said she questions the need for so many administration positions.

“Administrators seem to proliferate,” she said. “There are deans and then there are assistant deans and then there are assistant-assistant deans and vice presidents, and there is a certain point where perhaps it is time to look at administrator cuts as well as faculty cuts.”

Beahan also agrees with Bill Schell, another professor in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, that the football program should be cut or at least funded a little less.

Staci Stone, interim dean and associate professor of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, said she is concerned about what the performance-based metrics might be and what that competition might do to post-secondary education as a whole.

“We can see the effects of performance-based funding at lower levels and with an emphasis on standardized tests there, and the performance of teachers, and how that translates to schools, but I do not think you get a full picture of the successes of a school district just from the performance on a national exam,” she said. “So I am worried about what that means for higher secondary education.”

Regardless of what current suggestions will be turned into action in the future, Murray State may look like a new institution, Stone said, but one thing will always remain.

“I have heard the guiding principles for recommending cuts are that we must remain what we are at heart,” Stone said. “At our core we are a student-centered institution, teaching, at the forefront. What we care about is our students and what those students have with our professors and the experience of our students.” 

Bailey Bohannan, Staff writer

The School of Nursing and Health Professions

Hobbs

Hobbs

Marcia Hobbs, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, said planning for growth with the budget is going to be very difficult, particularly for applied health sciences.

She said the department is deeply concerned about the cuts and thinks the massive nature will affect the number and quality of professors hired.

“I think our program will be affected just as any other program on campus with respect to equipment,” said Kristan Erdmann, Athletic Training Program Director. “We have been very fortunate to purchase some fantastic equipment in the past couple years.”

She said she would hate to see their ability to continue to purchase quality supplies be hindered because of budget cuts. The department purchased a nerve conduction velocity and electromyography unit and a muscle skeletal machine in the past few years. Murray State is the only school in the state to have a muscle skeletal machine.

Erdmann said she is also worried about their ability to travel to conferences and workshops, in which they would lose the ability to bring new knowledge and insight into classrooms.

“If our professional development funds decreased, we would be impacted financially on a personal level,” Erdmann said.

She said the exercise science program is in the process of hiring an additional faculty member and hopes they can continue with that process. She does not foresee anyone wanting to leave and has not heard that anyone plans to.

“It worries me because I am looking for the best education possible in my field of study and the department needs funding to do that,” said Bryanna Kampwerth, freshman from Highland, Illinois.

She thinks in the long run, the budget cuts will hurt students and hopes they are reworked so that students do not suffer.

Mikayla Marshall, Staff writer

The College of Education and Human Services

Whaley

Whaley

The College of Education and Human Services, COEHS, has the highest ranked elementary education program and the second highest ranked secondary education program, said David Whaley, dean of College of Education and Human Services.

Despite the proposed cuts, COEHS is committed to upholding instruction for students in the department.

Since Gov. Bevin’s budget is not finalized, Whaley is unsure what specific cuts will be made if the budget passes. He said he is identifying the college’s priorities.

“Priority No. 1 is that ‘The COEHS desires to maintain its earned reputation for outstanding academic programs that provide students with opportunities to excel in their chosen disciplines,’ according to the College of Education and Human Services,” Whaley said.   Another priority is to maintain a rigorous course study for students, Whaley said.

“I’m glad that Dean Whaley is devoted to our education,” said Alyssa Smith, freshman from Marshall County, Kentucky. “As an education major, I do not want my education to be affected because we do not have the money to pay for professors and learning tools, but Dean Whaley is keeping the emphasis on academic achievement.”

COEHS will maintain their academic programs and a well-trained and educated staff. Quality teachers and professors are a priority.

Whaley said the College of Education and Human Services is committed to quality staff and quality education, and it will be accommodated in a new budget.

Incoming students whose majors fall under COEHS should know their education will be affected by Bevin’s proposed budget cuts.

“I think the department will suffer and education majors might have less hours going into schools to observe before practicum, and it could affect student teaching,” said Elizabeth Grogan, sophomore from Murray.

Education majors need 200 or more hours for practicum, observation and field experiences.

“Individually, we will have to each work a little harder and make adjustments quicker, so that it doesn’t affect us getting jobs,” Grogan said.

Whaley is not certain what the specific repercussions are, since the state budget is still being determined.

The budget cuts will have an impact on the college and Whaley is determined to make the impact minimal.

Murray State’s education preparation program is accredited nationally by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.

Murray State was the first nationally-accredited program in 1954. This remains the ‘gold standard’ of accreditation, Whaley said.

“With a carefully constructed process, based on strategic priorities, and with an eye to our students and with the strongest desire to maintain our quality programs, any harsh impact on students can be minimized,” Whaley said.

Ashley Traylor, Staff writer

The Hutson School of Agriculture

The Hutson School of Agriculture has seen a 55 percent increase of students since 2005, standing on a firm foundation of student retention, STEM-H degrees produced (both degrees rank in Top 6 in number of Murray State graduates and account for 20 percent of Murray State STEM degrees), job placement and service to the region, said Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture.

“The Hutson School of Agriculture has always operated with the future in mind,” said Melissa Schenck, senior agriscience technology major from Boston, Kentucky. “While we might have to operate with a different budget than we are used to, I have no doubt that the school will continue listening to what the students want and need from their education.”

Brannon has been at Murray State for 28 years and served as an administrator for 20 of those years. Based on that experience, he said he has learned a lot.

“Most importantly, I know not to overreact to any prediction or potential cuts and I fully realize that the budget process plays out over a 3-4 month period every year with lots of reiterations and versions with final decisions not coming many times until May or June,” he said.

He said the school is “currently fully participating in that strategic discussion process.”  But, he added that it is too early in the process to discuss any specific types or amounts of cuts or how they school would cope with them.

He said the Hutson School of Agriculture’s goal will be to maintain and protect funding to support the growing demand of their academic programs and regional service operations like those provided at the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

McKenna Dosier, Staff writer

The Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Leaders in the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology said they have nothing to report at this time, since it is too early to know what the outcome of the proposed budget cuts may be.

“We are early in the process and are in the phase where we are gathering information and looking at what areas might have the ability to streamline operations, be able to provide savings or perhaps generate new revenue,” said Steve Cobb, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “So at this point, there have been no cuts and there are no effects to discuss. Any decisions to that end will be some time in taking shape.”

Cody Hall, Contributing writer