The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) has lost a projected $500,000 in funding for the current fiscal year. This loss includes losing between $325,000 and $350,000 in Central Instructional Funding and giving back $100,000 of state budget.
Karen Pugliesi, the Dean of SBS, said in an email that students should not be concerned about impacts on their experiences in classrooms, co-curricular programming or opportunities for engagement with research.
This news comes at an interesting time for SBS. Enrollment within SBS has increased, along with the popularity of both summer and winter sessions. However, NAU as a whole has not been in an ideal position. For the 2018 to 2019 academic year, the school has fallen to nearly $10 million under expected tuition revenue. This underperformance can be attributed to lower overall enrollment and retention rates.
SBS Dean Karen Pugliesi issued a memo to all faculty and staff involved, noting the impact seen throughout the college.
“[We] are working to develop a plan that will support continuing to do the things important to our educational, scholarly and other endeavors,” Pugliesi said.
This proposed plan will be developed by Pugliesi, Fiscal Operations Manager James Schlittenhart and other SBS department chairs and directors. The plan is aimed to establish a clear course for continued growth and prosperity.
Pugliesi also added that despite the change in budgeting, the job status of full-time SBS employees will be unaffected.
“Neither of these budget reductions will affect employment status of regular, full-time personnel,” Pugliesi said.
It remains unlikely that this funding loss could affect any employees. However, the standing of part-time instructors and staff members was left unaddressed.
Along with these worries, students within the College of SBS addressed their concerns surrounding the loss of funding.
Honors freshman Kyra Hill, an anthropology major, noted that SBS is already underappreciated and ignored compared to other colleges at the university.
“I am worried that with less funding comes less research, and it will be easier to cut even more funds while going unnoticed publicly,” Hill said.
Hill also discussed her concern that this could lead to even more budgetary restrictions for SBS in the future.
“If they’ve already cut this much money and the college has stayed afloat, why won’t they cut more in the future?” Hill said.
Freshman psychology minor Nuala McGirr, gave further insight toward this discussion.
“I'm distressed about the potential influence of this budget cut on SBS," McGirr said. "If it’s not affecting personnel, what exactly is changing? Especially as a freshman, I want the college to prosper throughout my undergraduate career”.
Despite these unfavorable circumstances, Pugliesi maintains adamant support in the self-sufficiency and functionality of SBS.
“We are making adaptations within SBS for this year to reduce our expenditures and reliance on central university resources,” Pugliesi said.
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is working to develop a plan that provides the appropriate resources for all departments and programs. Time will tell how SBS handles this financial restraint.