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Cuts could bury CLA even further if Prop. 30 fails

Each department in the College of Liberal arts has seen a 75 percent cut in operating funds this year, and with the unknown fate of Proposition 30 weighing on the budget of the Cal State University, even more cuts could come if it fails.

The CLA is the largest college in CSULB, with 23 departments, eight programs and about 40 percent of the CSULB student body taking classes in the college. According to David Dowell, vice provost for planning and budgets, if Prop. 30 fails, about 300 to 400 classes will be cut across the whole campus next year. CLA’s share would be about one-third of that.

“I would much rather be dean in times when resources were plentiful,” CLA Dean David Wallace, who started in the summer and replaced former CLA dean Gerry Riposa, said.

When asked what specific plans are in store for the CLA and CSULB if Prop. 30 fails, both Dowell and Wallace said they were unsure about all of the repercussions. All the college deans will meet with Dowell and Provost Donald Para after the election to discuss the budget for the 2013-14 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, the CLA had $29,055,166 allocated to its budget, which dropped in the 2012-13 school year to $26,697,245. The funds go towards faculty salaries as well as operating funds for classroom supplies and travel.

Some, like geography department Chair Paul Laris, said that the university could not properly function with even more budget cuts. The department, like all other departments, has seen a 75 percent cut in operating funds, Wallace said.

In the 2011-12 school year, the geography department had $24,063 in operating funds, which did not include salaries. However, in the 2012-13 school year, the department was initially given $3,076 for operating funds but then later received an additional $3,000, bringing the operating funds up to $6,076 for the year.

“We are on life support right now; we will stay on life support if [Prop. 30] does pass,” Laris said. “If it doesn’t pass, we can’t call ourselves a university.”

Russian, German and Romantic Languages Chair Markus Muller said he was a part of a CLA restructuring committee, which started in the summer of 2011 and lasted only two months. The committee found that there were no more options to cut from the CLA.

Both Laris and Muller said that the operating funds have been so severely cut that there is no room for faculty travel or advising.

“All the money for research has been canceled,” Laris said. “All the money has been canceled for travel, except for those who are in the tenure track faculty.”

The cuts in operational funds, which include basic classroom and office supplies, have accommodated for the 2012-13 budget cuts, according to Wallace.

The outcome of Prop. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative that would raise income taxes on those who make more than $250,000 and increase the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent, will determine if further cuts will be made to the CSU system. If it fails, the CSU will see a $250 million trigger cut, of which CSULB will see $25 million in cuts, according to Para.

The operating budget cuts also stripped down faculty advising, Wallace said. CLA is moving from an advising model that relies primarily on faculty to one that relies more on staff advisors, including Advising Teaching Liberal Arts Students (ATLAS), according to Dowell. Almost all other colleges on campus are already there.

“It’s not necessarily that we’re going to spend less money on it, but we are going to get more students advised per dollar,” Dowell said. “It’s a little controversial because some parts of advising only a faculty member can do. Only a faculty member can advise you on your career goals and that sort of thing.”

Another consideration for the CLA budget is a new administrative hire.

Currently, the CLA is in the process of searching for a second associate dean who will take the place of instructional faculty member of economics, Kristen Monaco, Wallace said. Monaco is unofficially managing enrollment; however, the next associate dean, who is expected to start on Jan. 22, will take over that task.

“Enrollment management is critical,” Wallace said. “It is unusual for a college this big to have one dean.”

Monaco’s salary in 2011 was $86,855, according to the state employee database made available via the Sacramento Bee data center. The current CLA Associate Dean Mark Wiley made $134,940 in 2011. Adding a second official associate dean to the CLA would result in an additional $48,085 for administrative salaries if the new associate dean earns the same salary as Wiley.

The new associate dean would oversee enrollment and be able to help with making general education curriculum leaner, according to Wallace.

“Liberal Arts has a tremendous plethora of classes that are often kind of designed to exploit general education,” Dowell said. “A faculty member wants to teach in a specialty area and they develop a GE class. The problem with that is that it’s often run at a pretty small size and it becomes an expensive proposition.”

It is still uncertain what will become of next year’s budget because of Prop. 30. If Prop. 30 doesn’t pass, faculty salary cuts will be considered, according to Dowell.

Wallace said that concrete decisions will be made after tomorrow’s election results.

“The future of the CSU hinges on whether or not the U.S. wakes up to the crucial role of education,” Dowell said.

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