The University of Kansas has outlined the first half of about $3.8 million in cuts to academic and administrative programs expected this year at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
Among the programs taking significant cuts in this first-round announcement are the Kansas Geological Survey, Kansas Public Radio and the Audio Reader service for the blind and visually impaired.
Officials said the first $1.3 million in cuts announced by Provost Neeli Bendapudi on Wednesday are necessary as the university tries to manage a $7 million reduction in state funding mandated by Gov. Sam Brownback this summer.
An additional $3.7 million in state funding has been cut from the KU Medical Center budget, and officials there said the budget reduction would cause significant hardship for the medical school.
Never miss a local story.
“These budget reductions have limited the institution’s ability to make important investments in the areas of personnel, infrastructure, outreach and new educational technologies and strategies,” said Douglas A. Girod, executive vice chancellor at KU Medical Center.
As a result of the cuts, Girod said, many medical school employees won’t get cost-of-living increases, support staff will be reduced, the number of slots for the M.D. and Ph.D. program will be reduced, and funding for the school’s post-doctoral program will decrease.
Bendapudi said KU in Lawrence and on the Edwards campus in Overland Park will likely see additional spending cuts to academic programs throughout the fiscal year, which began in July. Those cuts will be more evenly distributed across the campuses.
Jill Hummels, a spokeswoman for the provost’s office, said that in addition to program cuts, “the university also will have to leave several open positions unfilled across campus.” That does not mean a hiring freeze, she said.
She said that while determining where the cuts would fall, KU “tried to minimize the faculty, staff and student impact while remaining true to our teaching and research mission. But that does not mean there won’t be some pain and discomfort felt.”
The cuts, while targeted in this first round, are sure to impact the entire university community, Hummels said.
A faculty hiring program, focused on hiring primarily research faculty — they would also teach — is the hardest hit, losing $400,200. That means the university will do without three of five faculty it had planned to employ through is faculty cluster hire program.
Other cuts announced Wednesday include:
▪ $311,600 to the Kansas Geological Survey.
▪ $300,000 to International Programs.
▪ $100,000 each to Kansas Public Radio and Audio Reader.
▪ $70,000 to the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute on the Edwards campus.
Hummels said additional cuts won’t be announced until after KU has its official enrollment count in September. While the entire campus will shoulder cuts, some programs, such as engineering and business, with prearranged university support for growing their enrollment may be spared heavy hits.