Committee considers budget savings plan

By Jami Peterson

A trouble shooting committee pondered over a budget savings game plan Wednesday which would decentralize the College of Continuing Education (CCE) and reorganize international and special programs.

Provost Kendall Baker, speaking at the Organization, Productivity and Salaries Committee (OPS) meeting, said plans are in the works to give continuing education and international programs a budget facelift. OPS is a committee created by NIU President John La Tourette to battle budget woes and reallocate funds for a 4.25 percent salary pool.

Although no plans are definite, Baker said some savings will be achieved through a decentralization of the CCE.

Decentralization includes transferring some programs controlled through the central unit of the college down to a faculty level, he said. However, the central unit will remain intact. “We’ve got to get faculty much more involved,” Baker said.

Some faculty members will be transferred from the central unit to other areas in the collegiate level, he said.

Joan Greening, associate director of Career Planning and Placement, said she is concerned with the employees who may be eliminated through the new program.

However, Baker said no final decisions have been made and he will try to do the process in a “sensitive fashion.”

Baker said the international and special programs are being reorganized both internally and externally. “While there is a lot of talk about splitting international and special programs, there are arguments on the other side,” he said.

He said some of the programs, such as the foreign language residence program, may be moved back into the college. However, he said most savings will come from decisions about “top leaders” and organizations within the programs.

Committee member Ladd Thomas said in order to save money, college deans should also be teaching classes. “Some students feel deans don’t understand them,” he said.

Baker said this is an area that will hopefully be changed. “Right now it’s a bureaucracy which is doing things.”

College of Business Dean Richard Brown said the two units should be joined together. “I don’t have the foggiest notion of what those units are trying to do.”

Also discussed at the meeting was the formation of an Energy Conservation and Operations Committee, whose objective will be to save money by conserving energy. Eddie Williams, vice president for Finance and Planning, said, “It’s very critical we get our whole campus aware of this issue.”