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Enrollment to be capped to address budget deficit

By Marissa Piccolo
On April 8, 2014

  • Mun Choi speaking at the University of Connecticut Senate meeting on Monday evening where they discussed ways to address the $42 million budget deficit projected for next year.

The University of Connecticut Senate discussed ways to address a looming $42 million budget deficit projected for next year and voted to require professors to provide course syllabi to students.

The University Senate is a legislative body formed of professors and administrators responsible for establishing regulations of educational programs that are not reserved to the Board of Trusteees.

The Senate held its monthly meeting Monday. With President Susan Herbst in Dallas, TX supporting the men's basketball team, Provost Mun Choi delivered the opening report in her place. 

"I'm going to speak to the topic on the mind of many people, and that's the budget," Choi said.  

The $42 million structural deficit is not something that can be overcome in any one fiscal year, however the Provost presented a plan that he said will address the issue while also enabling long-term university growth. 

"The structural deficit is not one of its own making, it has been created because of cuts in state appropriations," Choi said. 

Choi presented data showing that although total undergraduate enrollment at Storrs has increased by 9.4 percent from fiscal year 2008 to 2014, state appropriations has fallen almost 13 percent. 

Due to concern from faculty that the university cannot continue to grow with the current budget, and that unsustainable growth and expenses will nullify NextGen funds, only 3,550 total undergraduates will be allowed to enroll next year. 

But Choi emphasized that faculty and staff hiring will not be affected. The faculty to student ratio is expected to decrease from 18.3 to 1, to 16 to 1 next year. 

The Senate also voted on a motion presented by the Scholastic Standards, Faculty Standards, and Curricula and Courses Committee of the University Senate that would require faculty to provide their students with a course syllabus. 

Senator Thomas Recchio, who presented the amendment, said, "The overwhelming conclusion is that a syllabus supports the interests of instructors and students in fundamental ways, and consequently the bylaws should make explicit that the provision of a syllabus is mandatory."

 After a lengthily debate, the motion was approved. 

Wayne Locust of the Retnention and Graduation Task Force presented the group's annual report. Initiatives by the task force include an ACT Engage Survey to be completed by freshmen during orientation to gauge student opinion on a variety of topics, including coordinated mentoring programs, UConn Undergraduate Women's Participation in STEM programs, expanded Husky Help Desk outreach to urban schools and communities, re-engaging dropouts and intrusive advising. 

"We're swimming in a different pool than we were twenty years ago," said Locust. 

He reported that the average SAT of entering freshman are 122 points higher than in 2007. 

Peter Diplock  presented the annual report from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. He spoke about the newly created eCampus, which provides "enhanced centralized support for development of entrepreneurial programs," specifically, "UConn's online initiative, working with faculty and departments to facilitate the development of high demand/high enrollment quality online courses." 

Diplock discussed UConn's growing Early College Experience program. During the last twenty years, the program has increased enrollment of high school and potential UConn students from about 2,000 to 10,000. 

The University Senate will next meet on May 5 and is set to vote on two motions that will amend bylaws that detail to the process for appealing grades and rescheduling exams.  

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