Consolidation could save SFSU money and jobs

A campus advisory panel has recommended consolidating San Francisco State University’s eight colleges to six, a move that could ultimately save 200 classes and prevent layoffs.

Last week, the University Planning Advisory Council recommended combining ethnic studies and education into a single department and merging foreign languages and humanities into a liberal arts college.

To move forward, the proposal must receive support from SFSU President Robert Corrigan, who would then decide if it should be voted on by the university’s 1,500 faculty members.

Discussions about condensing the university’s colleges came before Gov. Jerry Brown released his state budget proposal in early January. That document subsequently called for a $1.4 billion total reduction to higher education, with the California State University system facing $500 million in cuts.

SFSU might be dealt cuts as high as $32 million, Corrigan has said.

Consolidating colleges would give employees a say in budget decisions and save money in the long term, advisory council Chairman Shawn Whalen said.

“If it comes down to eliminating 10 faculty positions or going to six colleges, it might be more palatable,” Whalen said in an interview last month.

The college could save up to $1.5 million a year and as many as 200 classes, Whalen said.

“Over the course of a decade, it could be millions of dollars,” he said.

But not all faculty members support the idea to consolidate, Whalen said, yet it might be the university’s only answer to saving jobs.

“At some point, we have to figure out [what to do] in a world where the state doesn’t want to pay for higher education like they once did,” he said.

The advisory council was created during the 2009-10 school year to give the faculty a voice. At the time, the college faced massive layoffs, but faculty and staff members had little to no say in what programs or positions were cut.

Four different concepts were circulated last spring for consideration by the university council to combine most of the school’s 115 bachelor’s degree programs.

From eight to six SFSU colleges

The following is a list of the current colleges at SFSU, followed by the restructuring proposal from the University Planning Advisory Council:

Current colleges
– Behavioral and Social Sciences
– Business
– Creative Arts
– Education
– Ethnic Studies
– Health and Human Services
– Humanities
– Science and Engineering

Proposed restructuring
– Business
– Creative Arts and Communication
– Ethnic Studies and Education
– Health and Human Services
– Liberal Arts
– Science and Engineering

Source: San Francisco State University


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