More UI jobs may be cut

Originally published in The Daily Iowan 6/12/2009

AMES — The UI may cut as many as 130 jobs by July 2010, part of an effort to slash its budget by $34 million, UI President Sally Mason told the state Board of Regents Thursday.

Officals hope to save $10.8 million.

But Mason said that number is an early estimate and the UI is working to avoid layoffs.

“That is a worse-case scenario,” she said. “We still need to see how many people take advantage of our retirement incentives.”

The UI could save roughly $1.8 million through both early and phased retirements, she said. She called this number a “conservative estimate,” and she anticipates an increase in savings as more people took advantage of retirement incentives, which would mean fewer layoffs.
Former UI Faculty Senate President Michael O’Hara said officials need to distinguish between different types of faculty. Tenured faculty will not be affected by the budget cuts, for example, but some lecturers and adjunct faculty members will be laid off.

Both Mason and O’Hara said more faculty members will teach course sections as teaching assistants lose their positions.
“Incoming freshmen will be exposed to a faculty member teaching a course section two years from now,” Mason said.

These courses will include some of the 100 freshman seminar courses slated for next year as well as the 200 set for the 2010-2011 term.
Mason said she didn’t know exactly how much money the UI will save by eliminating graduate student positions, but “there will be savings.”
David Drake, the president of the UI Faculty Senate, said this will increase faculty’s workload.

“Faculty are already very much involved in the teaching process. It means we’ll be stepping up to the plate even more,” he said.

Along with these savings, the UI will have less money for travel and to support departmental activities, O’Hara said. These activities consist of anything from traveling to department conventions to paying outside speakers to come to the university, Drake added.

Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa are making similar job cuts, and all three schools expect to raise tuition by an estimated 4.2 percent next year.

Regent President David Miles said this is all part of the effort to take the burden of tuition cost “off students’ and their families’ backs.”
The regents will approve the final budget at their next meeting, in August. Regent Robert Downer said these changes will continue even after the economy recovers.

DI reporter Micheal Dale-Stein contributed to this report.

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