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Stanford announces units' plans to close budget gap

STANFORD -- It will cost more to attend Stanford next year, but it appears that academic programs will escape Stanford's $43 million budget-cutting exercise relatively unscathed.

No massive staff layoffs are anticipated, and no tenure- line faculty will lose their jobs, Provost James N. Rosse said in an interview.

Budget-reduction and income-enhancement plans will not be finalized until April, but they probably will encompass:

  • A substantial tuition increase, coupled with increased financial aid.
  • A reduction of faculty and staff largely through attrition.
  • Commensurate with faculty attrition, a reduction in the number of courses offered and a resulting increase in some class sizes.
  • An increase of about 200 full-paying master's degree students.
  • Large cuts in some administrative units, and elimination of one administrative vice presidential area.

Few surprises were revealed in budget-cutting plans submitted by each of Stanford's schools and other major units in mid-January, which were made public Jan. 29. Most of the 18 units had consulted extensively and openly after they were given reduction targets in October.

The proposals, if implemented, probably will enable the university to close its $43-million budget gap, Rosse said, although it is too soon to be absolutely sure.

Stanford's academic programs will be "modestly leaner," Rosse said, but will be reduced far less than administrative units, which already went through a previous round of budget cutting in 1990 and 1991. The cumulative cut for some administrative units will exceed 30 percent in three years.

Specific highlights

Specific proposals from some schools and other units include:

  • Reducing the Humanities and Sciences faculty to its authorized size of 460 billets through attrition of 23 positions. The school has been operating above its authorized level for several years. Stanford's overall non-medical faculty will decrease by almost 35 positions through attrition.
  • Reducing approximately 17 lecturers, mostly through attrition, in foreign languages; math; biology; and Cultures, Ideas and Values. Faculty will take up most of the slack.
  • Eliminating the doctoral program in musical arts.
  • Reorganizing the foreign language and literature departments.
  • Eliminating Innovative Academic Programs, which introduces alternative topics, many related to social and political activism, into the curriculum.
  • Reorganizing Meyer Undergraduate Library, with most services provided next door at Green Library. Meyer will be turned into an instructional support center.
  • Reducing operating hours at Green Library.
  • Closing the overseas studies program in Salamanca, Spain, and modifying the Florence program.
  • Cutting back the Lively Arts cultural series.
  • Withdrawing $100,000 in general funds support for the Stanford Band.

Final plan due in April

During the next six weeks, teams of faculty and administrators will study the plans in relation to their impact on six "cross-cutting" themes: undergraduate education, graduate education, research, the arts, diversity and support services (see separate story). Rosse said the proposals are not expected to change much.

After the review, Rosse and President Donald Kennedy will jointly prepare a final budget plan for presentation to trustees at their April 13-14 meeting. At that time, trustees also will act on a proposed 1992-93 operating budget.

Most of the proposed budget reductions will be implemented in the next two years, with administrative units taking the bulk of their cuts in 1992-93 so that academic units can take theirs later.

The Board of Trustees has authorized the use of up to $100 million in reserves to cover deficits for several years and allow orderly cuts.

The $43 million in permanent expense reductions and income enhancements represents almost 12 percent of the university's non-medical operating budget of $362 million. (The Medical School has until 1997 to solve a separate budget problem.)

University officials in October 1991 announced targets for schools, vice presidential areas and academic support units totaling $26.4 million. Another $16 million is to come from cuts and income enhancements called "central initiatives," which includes tuition, financial aid, the Haas Public Service program and Stanford in Washington, and the Overseas Studies program.

Rosse said he anticipated that "there will not be a lot of layoffs" because managers have had ample warning of the budget problem and have been allowing staff size to drop through attrition. Further normal attrition and job transfers are expected before implementation of the cuts is complete.

Rosse said he hoped to offer an enhanced early retirement program for staff, but first would have to consult with trustees at their Feb. 10-11 meeting.

Not since the university reduced its budget by $16 million ($10 million in belt tightening and $6 million in income enhancements) between 1969 and 1977 has the institution undertaken such an ambitious reduction. Declining federal support for research and graduate fellowships were among the initial problems that led to creation of the 1969 Budget Adjustment Program. Later, double-digit inflation, the world oil shortage and a declining stock market created new problems and the 1974 Budget Equilibrium Program.

Victims in those cuts included the School of Nursing (1974), the undergraduate program in architecture (announced in 1975) and the Beutelsbach, Germany, campus (1976). The operating budget in 1978-79 was nearly $119 million, almost one-third the current non-medical operating budget.

  • * *

Many of the unit proposals already have been publicly revealed but some were finalized only recently. Highlights of the individual unit plans' executive summaries follow.

Miscellaneous student services

Overseas Studies will save almost $74,000 by closing the Salamanca, Spain, program, but this is contingent on funding a new program in Santiago, Chile. Sites will be explored, preferably in Russia, for an Eastern European program to replace the spring- quarter program in Krakow, Poland. Dramatic reduction and refocus in the Florence program will save $315,000.

The Haas Center for Public Service will cut or reallocate operating expenses and use some restricted funds for salaries. Some publications and the You Can Make a Difference conference may be eliminated.

Stanford in Washington will reduce its expendable materials budget and transfer building management expenses to its auxiliary budget. The center is seeking replacement funds for a declining 10-year endowment of $1.2 million.

Cuts in Student Resources affect many units. At the University Advising Center, primary advising of transfer students and undeclared sophomores and juniors will be shifted to faculty and small programming cuts will be made. The Center for Teaching and Learning will reduce tutoring and study-skills classes, workshops and counseling.

The Career Planning and Placement Center will reduce administration and student positions. The Registrar's Office will reduce the classroom improvement budget and some administrative and clerical support.

The Dean of Students is reducing university support for the Associated Students. Tresidder Union will be closed on the 25 slowest weekend and weekday evenings of the year. The Ticket Office subsidy will be eliminated. The International Center is reducing services, including advising of international students.

Cowell Student Health Center is reducing evening and weekend hours, reducing counseling outreach efforts, eliminating support for the aerobics program, and reducing support of nutrition services and sports medicine.

Undergraduate Admissions is reducing time allocated to applicant processing and evaluation. Management and clerical support is being reduced. The department will incorporate labor- saving devices, such as form letters and voice mail.

Staffing and program support funds will be reduced in Graduate Housing and Residential Education programs, and general funds support for financial aid will be reduced $2.5 million.


The School of Humanities and Sciences is cutting 23 faculty billets through attrition, cutting back on lecturers and replacement teaching for faculty members on leave, and reorganizing departments and curricula. The school expects to expand master's degree programs, in which students generally pay full tuition.

The Graduate School of Business will reduce administrative services and information resources. The Sloan Program will be increased in size and an executive program will add at least one additional section. The school also may create new executive programs. The size of degree programs will be examined.

Education will add about 70 master's degree candidates in existing and new programs. The school also will streamline academic programs and build up its development program. Some faculty billets will be reduced through attrition.

The Law School will give up three to five faculty slots through attrition, increase tuition above the general university guideline and make modest reductions in central administration, the law library and publications.

Engineering proposes to add 81 new graduate students over a two-year period, return three faculty billets and increase tuition above the normal increment.

Earth Sciences will reorganize its four departments into three, make dramatic cuts in the dean's office and cut departmental expenditures to bare bones. The undergraduate field geology course will be offered only in alternate years.

The School of Medicine, which is not included in the $43- million budget cut, anticipates a deficit of $78 million through fiscal year 1996. By separate arrangement with the Board of Trustees, the school will achieve a balanced budget in fiscal year 1997. Fifteen faculty billets that would have been filled in the next four years will be returned, on top of 24 billets withdrawn earlier.

Other cuts in medicine will be taken in central administration and support staff. Various changes will be made in the financial organization of the school, including imposition of indirect costs on research funded by gifts and other departmental funds.

Vice presidential areas

The Legal Office is planning to substantially reduce service to certain units, then use freed-up staff capacity to handle more litigation in-house.

The Finance Division will delay its budget cuts until the indirect-cost controversy is resolved. Consultants are helping analyze the unit's work flow, but in the interim, the unit is spending $10 million in 1992 to meet government requirements and anticipates needing between $2 million and $3 million more in budget base to support new systems.

Human Resources proposes to eliminate placement screening and testing, the least critical training programs, central processing of staff development funds and emergency loans, and calculation of exclusion allowances for participants in the contributory retirement plan. The unit will reduce support for new program development and for its own administrative support.

Administrative Resources, which proposes to put itself out of business completely, exceeded its reduction target by 9 percent ($1.2 million). Departments and programs in the unit will be transferred to appropriate units. Procurement will rely more on technology and on vendor partnerships. Environmental Health and Safety plans program consolidations and reductions, and full costing of services.

Planning and Management will trim capital planning, campus archeology and space management functions, while preserving functions that respond to institutional priorities and processes, such as support for the Board of Trustees, faculty governance and the University Cabinet. A fund supporting endowed professors is being eliminated and the support reduced for the University Fellows.

On the facilities side of Planning and Management, reductions will be noticed in grounds maintenance, custodial service and nonemergency repairs. Utility upgrades will be reduced. An aggressive energy conservation program is planned. The Planning Office has been merged with the University Architect's Office.

Public Affairs plans to reduce the Lively Arts cultural series, and eliminate general funds subsidies for its service centers and for the Alumni Association. In the News Service, circulation of the Stanford Observer is being reduced and two summer issues of Campus Report will be eliminated.

Development will reduce computer services, operations support, research, budget analysis and events planning. Staff in corporate and foundation relations will be reduced and development positions in the provost's area and the libraries are being eliminated. University support for medical development will be cut back.

Other units

Libraries and Information Resources proposes to reorganize Meyer Undergraduate Library, sending students to nearby Green Library for many services, and reorganize public service functions in the rest of the system along disciplinary lines. Meyer will become an instructional support center with computer cluster, language lab, media center and course reserves.

Early morning hours at Green Library will be cut back somewhat. On the computing side, broad services will be preserved and those that serve small, specialized populations will be targeted for various levels of reduction.

The Hoover Institution Library and Archives' strategy is to preserve the most widely used of its collections - Soviet/East Europe, West Europe and East Asia - while cutting back on support for the Middle East and Latin America collections.

The Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation will reduce the number of guest lecturers in dance, reduce capital facilities reserves, eliminate summer intramurals and shorten hours at Roble Gym. Students will pay modestly higher fees. Support for Varsity II sports will be reduced $100,000 per year for three years. University support for individual club sports will be eliminated in 1993-94.

The Office of the Dean of Research proposes to close the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences upon retirement of its director. Responsibility for the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory will be transferred to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.


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