STILLWATER, Okla. — Deans or representatives from nine colleges within the Oklahoma State University system addressed budget concerns within their particular schools Thursday during a general faculty meeting at the Student Union Theater.
About 150 attended the event, getting answers to questions and hearing from many deans about the struggles they face because of less state funding.
“I want to thank the faculty for the great job they are doing in weathering this storm,” President Burns Hargis said. “I’m very hopeful we are starting to flatten out in terms of our budget problems.”
Hargis mentioned the university fell short of revenue projections for July and August.
“I think we are still providing a great service to our students and our state,” Hargis said.
Carol Jones, chair of the Faculty Council said the changes the leaders are making will make the university more efficient.
The deans spoke about how state funding impacted their colleges, like the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources seeing a nearly 19 percent cut in the past two years and the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences seeing a 20 percent cut last year alone.
Cynda Clary, associate dean of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources said they have lost 19 faculty positions, but that most of those reductions were done through attrition.
Clary also mentioned that more graduate assistants may be used for teaching positions.
Dean Sheryl Tucker said the Graduate College – which she said has had record graduation rates the past five years – is working to protect graduate level stipends.
John S.C. Romans, dean of the College of Education said reductions through attrition continue and faculty searches were held back last year.
He is hoping to improve student outcomes and plans to grow the college by adding new degrees.
Bret Danilowicz, dean of College of Arts & Sciences said continued cuts has them considering more universal changes, but it isn’t yet clean what those will look like.
Danilowicz said he is trying to save faculty positions.
Dean Ken Eastman said the Spears School of Business relies less on state funding than other OSU colleges.
He wants to “maintain the integrity of our program,” and make any necessary staffing cuts through attrition.
“I’m hopeful, as the president says, that things may be turning around,” Eastman said.