First, the proposal is to invest in more flexible ways than we now do. This would mean investing in more staff, infrastructure, better support for research and creative work, travel, an “excellent new ideas” fund, faculty retention and the like. With somewhat smaller ranks of tenured faculty, we would be able to better support the faculty, staff and students we have.
Second, the proposal to rebalance the college’s spending in this way is just that: a proposal. The dean wants to know how members of the faculty and staff would prioritize the spending of funds, should this proposal be implemented.
It is intended to support the research mission of the university. If TTT faculty were to absorb additional workload because of staffing or other cuts, this could hinder the ability of those faculty to undertake research and scholarly work. When funding for the college declines, both research and teaching may be affected. Our task is to ensure that both are protected to the greatest extent possible.
The campus administration and the leadership of colleges and schools do discuss the budgetary challenges facing the university. During the planning for current-year budget cuts and for next year’s budget cut scenarios, colleges and campus administration have discussed unique challenges specific to each school or college, as well as campus-wide principles and strategies for budget reductions.
Lecturers are paid from temporary dollars, and our focus here is on continuing dollars. Temporary dollars are generated from sources such as temporarily open positions, faculty and staff on leave and other such mechanisms. These are not sources we can count on, and therefore not dollars we can cut.
In a Jan. 29 letter to faculty and staff, CU Boulder Provost Russ Moore and Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke asked the campus to prepare for continuing budget cuts in the fiscal year that starts in July 2021 and ends in June 2022 (fiscal year 2022). The letter cited commitments made last fall to academic units to act with transparency in addressing budget gaps, minimize impacts to CU Boulder’s institutional mission, support units’ abilities to plan by avoiding additional mid-year cuts unless “absolutely necessary” and provide “budget-planning scenarios for fiscal year 2022 to enable schools, colleges and academic and administrative support units to plan for any budget-balancing decisions that might be needed.” The provost and COO cited the need to proactively develop planning scenarios for continuing budget cuts of 3%, 4% or 5% for fiscal year 2022. “We will have more accurate projections as we get further into the spring; however, we do not anticipate that the final cuts will drop below 3% or exceed 5%,” the letter said.
In 2019, after consulting with various groups including A&S, the campus raised the floor for instructor salaries and provided funding for any instructor below the minimum. We believe instructors are an important part of our teaching mission, and their compensation should reflect that value. We will continue to work toward aligning pay for instructors. All positions within the college are currently under review due to the implementation of Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
It is our intention to continue that conversation.
We remain committed to the JEDI mission and the FDAP program. These are key priorities for the college and the university.
Currently, the University of Colorado does not grant tenure to instructors at any of its four campuses. Whether our instructor-rank faculty should be afforded the same academic protections that our tenure track faculty enjoy is an important, but complex question, one that is being debated at the national level. While this is a topic that is beyond the scope of our current budget discussions within the College of Arts and Sciences, it is a broader issue that we will continue to follow.