President’s message – Monday, June 8, 2009

Dear members of the university community:

By the end of this week we expect to have our 2009-10 budget approved by the Board of Trustees, which is scheduled to meet Friday morning.

The trustees will be presented with a budget that is the result of months of hard work by many across the university community. The proposed budget was shaped by the feedback we have received from many members of the university community individually and at Town Hall meetings, and by the recommendations of the Faculty Senate, and the Budget Stabilization Task Force. Ultimately, though, our deans and vice presidents were tasked with finding ways to meet budget reduction targets in each area.

As in the past, the cuts were not across the board, but strategic in nature and were assigned according to the same rating system we developed last year. For more detail on this you may refer to slides number 15, 16 and 20 of the presentation given during the Board of Trustees Budget Workshop last week. The purpose of the workshop was to show our plans to the trustees and get their feedback before they make a final decision this Friday.

We do not want to cut programs but we are forced to do so given the dramatic drop in revenues the state has experienced. FIU, like our sister universities, must accommodate a 15 percent reduction in recurring General Revenue. Units were already planning to reduce their 2009-10 budgets by $8.2 million. However, an additional $11.4 million cut in 2009-10 is necessary to respond to the latest legislative cuts.

In our incremental budget reduction plan for this year, we originally proposed the closure of 19 programs, however the collegiate review process and your involvement already has yielded positive results: we have found a way to preserve the Master’s degree in religious studies and have postponed the decision to close five of the degree programs in the College of Education (reference slide number 18).

We continue to explore fundraising opportunities that would help us preserve the Bachelor’s degree in religious studies. As you know, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has pledged his support and may also be willing to help us raise the $4 million endowment we would need to offset the savings we would realize by closing the department.

Just as we announced last year, all students currently in the programs targeted for closure will be given the opportunity to complete the degree program.

The total budget reduction plan is expected to generate $53.3 million in savings from all our E&G units. The initial plan totaling $35.7M was approved by the BOT last year. The incremental reduction plan, expected to generate an additional $17.6 million in savings will be recommended for approval by the BOT this week.

The incremental plan calls for additional degree program closures which will generate $1 million annually in savings. In academic affairs areas, lower operational costs and the postponement of certain new hires will result in $9.3 million savings. Another $3.4 million in expenses will be shifted to non-E&G sources of funding. Reductions in non-academic areas will generate an additional $3.9 million.

Overall, in FY09-10 the total budget reduction plan will impact approximately 173 positions, most of which are vacant or will be vacated through attrition. Approximately 55 of the positions eliminated will be faculty positions, while 120 are administrative lines.

While this is a difficult and unpleasant process, it is one that we must endure in order to ensure the long-term financial stability of the university. We must make cuts that are consistent with our mission and strategic direction and work to avoid damage to the entire institution. We are confident that this approach will ensure that FIU emerges from this financial crisis strong and well-positioned to resume its unprecedented trajectory of success.

I thank each of you who has become involved in this arduous budget process. Your participation helped us arrive at the budget we will be presenting to our trustees this Friday.

Modesto A. Maidique


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