Smart Leadership for Higher Education in Difficult Times

Smart Leadership for Higher Education in Difficult Times

Edited by David W. Breneman and Paul J. Yakoboski

As the US economy emerges from the severest recession in a generation, large questions regarding its long-term ramifications for higher education remain unanswered. In fact, the harshest effects of the economic downturn are likely ahead as campus leadership focuses on enrollment, affordability and fundraising. This volume of essays examines the challenges and opportunities for advancing higher education’s core missions of education, research and service in a resource-constrained environment.

Chapter 7: Don’t Mourn, Reorganize!

Robert C. Holub

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, economics and finance, economics of education, public sector economics, education, economics of education, management and universities

Extract

Robert C. Holub I became chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in August 2008; at the time when the offer of the chancellorship was extended to me in May 2008 there were propitious signs in the economy and politics of the state. The governor was an outspoken advocate of public higher education, which bode well for the University of Massachusetts and the future. In the spring of 2008 the University had received a modest, but significant increase in operating funds, and the recently passed bills for capital expenditures in higher education and for the governor’s life science initiative both promised increased state participation in funding repairs and new construction on the campus, which had been insufficiently supported by the state for many decades. The financial wheels began to fall off the national and Massachusetts economy one month into my first year on the campus. The capital bills still contain provisions for supporting multiple construction projects; but when we will receive this funding is now uncertain and pushed into future years after the economy recovers and revenues return. More disturbing is that we have already suffered a series of large reductions to our base budget. To this point we have lost approximately $71 million of state funding, falling from the $231 million that was in our operating budget for state appropriations at the start of fiscal year 2009. The federal stimulus legislation has given us a “grace year” in fiscal year 2010, but the future looks bleak. What we will...

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