LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - As part of its ongoing actions to address projected budget shortfalls in the next three years, Lock Haven University has informed the local chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State Colleges and Universities Faculties that retrenchment cannot be ruled out during the 2011-2012 academic year because of financial considerations, elimination or consolidation of academic programs and courses, program curtailment or other reasons Lock Haven University Interim President Barbara B. Dixon made the announcement in a letter to Dr. Mark Cloud, LHU APSCUF chapter president, on August 9.Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
Interim President Dixon stated that no decisions have been made concerning numbers of potential cuts or of specific positions. The ultimate decision concerning retrenchment depends upon many variables including voluntary retirements. “While we will continue to explore other possible cost-reduction measures, we must be prepared for all contingencies,” said Dr. Dixon. “In making these difficult decisions, our focus will be to provide current and future students access to high quality programs in the best way possible given the current economic situation,” she said.
Since 2008, the university has implemented a variety of cost-cutting measures to address projected budget challenges. These measures include across-the-board reductions to department operating budgets in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, elimination of non-bargaining unit salary increases for 2009-10, departmental reorganizations, and other cost reductions. Despite $3.5 million of recurring savings already implemented, the university still faces a substantial shortfall in 2011-12, which is exacerbated by the uncertainty regarding the level of future state appropriations given the Commonwealth’s budget challenges.
According to Vice President for Finance and Administration William Hanelly, uncertainty about future appropriation levels played a role in the announcement of potential retrenchment. “In light of uncertain state budgets,” he said, “we have to keep all options open to ensure the fiscal well-being of the university so that we can continue to serve the educational needs of our students.”
Even as cuts may be necessary, Lock Haven University is still investing strategically in the quality of the university. This includes plans for a new Science Center at Lock Haven University’s East Campus facilities. “The main funding source for the science center project is a capital appropriation from the state,” said Mr. Hanelly, “which will be augmented by private grants, donor contributions and existing plant funds.” He added, “Without up-to-date science facilities, LHU will lose its lead in STEM education and will fall behind in recruitment of STEM students. The Science Center will make LHU more attractive to donors and granting agencies and will help position the university for growth.”
The Lock Haven University administration will continue to meet with APSCUF representatives to discuss cost reduction strategies and possible alternatives. Lock Haven University has 264 full-time faculty. Any tenured faculty scheduled for layoff must be notified by the end of October.