School administrators met for the first University Planning and Budget Group this semester and discussed CSUN’s fiscal direction for the upcoming year.
‘On the plus side of things, we know things are going to be more costly,’ said Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
The new state budget restrains the enrollment growth in the 23 CSU schools because, according to the government’s Department of Finance, it falls $215 million short of its operational needs.
Salary increases that faculty and staff are hoping for will not be coming from California, CSUN may try to increase the number of non-residential students as a solution. The tuition of non-residents, as of this year, is nearly $14,000.
‘The governor’s budget plan in December will be a guide, but we’d probably be better at working this stuff out ourselves,’ said Hellenbrand to UPBG members glancing at enrollment numbers and one of his essays.
‘We must understand that it is in our vital interest to develop non-general streams of revenue because the state reservoir has drawn down,’ Hellenbrand wrote in his essay, ‘Day of the Locusts.’
In order to accommodate the heavy flow of student enrollment ‘- which is over 36,000, according to ‘- money must be solicited from non-general sources, i.e. the bookstore and food services.
Administrators also moving up the enrollment date for freshmen, which might shave off the 300-400 people that register late.
‘We believe those people who commit last aren’t the ones who stay through till graduation,’ Hellenbrand said, although they’re looking for research to support that claim.
Kinesiology professor Barbara Swerkes worried that there is not enough faculty to teach the increasing number of full-time students. ‘A lot of this burden is being carried by the faculty,’ Swerkes said.
Hellenbrand said 50-60 tenure track faculty members had been hired this year, despite the past 10-year trend of hiring less full-time and more part-time/temporary faculty.
‘It’s no wonder they’ll take a part-timer, who teach 12 units, over full-timers, who teach 15 units and for more money,’ said Michael Neubauer, director of the Developmental Mathematics Program. ‘But no full-time faculty would mean a decrease in the level of engagement they offer, as well as the quality of education they give.’
Neubauer said that in order for this institution to run, the faculty needs to go to community meetings and involve students in what is happening.
The impact of this year’s budget and student enrollment can already be seen, and ‘the current number of students this semester is at record level,’ said vice president of Administration and Finance, Thomas McCarron. ‘They’ve opened up more courses.’
During the meeting, McCarron mentioned that a state amendment calling for three percent of the budget to be transferred into a rainy-day fund was underway.