MISSOULA – We’ll find out this week what University of Montana President Seth Bodnar is proposing for a package of cuts designed to get UM back on the right budget track.
However, Bodnar continues to emphasize cutbacks will allow students to finish programs and faculty and staff to plan for the changes.
Bodnar has been working with the University Planning Committee for the past few weeks to ease a budget shortfall which could grow to as much as $10 million. They have been analyzing UM’s Mission Statement, and what disciplines will help the school best help students for the future.
“We’ve taken a look at what are these, what we’re calling “communities of excellence”. Things like business, technology, entrepreneurship, health and human development, artistic expression and communication," Bodnar said. "The environment and sustainability. Justice, policy and public service. Those broad areas that UM just has a distinctive, not just reputation but offering.”
Bodnar, appearing a couple of weeks ago on our “Face the State” program, explained how UM has a responsibility to make sure its future graduates have not only the degrees and training they need, but the ability to adapt to what could be multiple careers during their lifetime.
However, he’s repeatedly said UM’s offerings must balance course offerings with enrollment and available state funding. That’s what will drive the cuts he will outline to Faculty Senate during a presentation on Tuesday afternoon.
Bodnar is promising cuts won’t leave students hanging.
“Now if there are programs that are identified that will be discontinued, we’re going to teach those programs out," Bodnar said. "Students that are here are going to finish in those programs. And we’re going to make sure that this transition happens smoothly, and in a respectful way. Both for our students and importantly for our faculty, for our staff. Change is something that we have to go through but we have to do so in respectful and compassionate way.”
Bodnar will meet with the Faculty Senate Tuesday. Any budget cut package will have to be approved by the Montana University System Board of Regents, which will next meet in Havre in late May.
Join KPAX for live web coverage of Bodnar’s announcement of proposed cuts on Tuesday beginning at 3 p.m.