HSU Nursing Downsized, Retained – April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A Message from the President

April 27, 2010

Re: Decisions on Program Elimination

Dear Campus Community:

Provost Robert Snyder recently submitted to me his final recommendations from the Program Elimination process, which I have decided to implement in their entirety. The decisions are based on earlier recommendations from the Academic Senate.

Before outlining my decisions, I want to thank the Academic Senate for its hard work on this effort. I know it was both complex and difficult, and not the sort of thing that anyone sought when they became a member of the Senate. I also want to thank Provost Snyder for his leadership in addressing the budget and organizational challenges facing our academic program. He has been fair, collaborative and highly effective.

In addition, I remind you that our campus process of Program Elimination is the result of severe state budget cuts. This year, the CSU system’s budget was reduced more than $560 million. At HSU we have lost about $12 million from a general fund budget of $102 million, with just over $10 million of that from our base budget. In making these cuts, legislators of both parties, as well as our Governor, have demonstrated a terrible lack of foresight.

Despite our efforts in reorganizing, seeking efficiencies, increasing class sizes, keeping positions vacant and the like, a budget reduction of the magnitude we have taken forces us to make painful cuts to our instructional program.

Provost Snyder and I have discussed Program Elimination at length, both during the Senate’s process and after the Senate made its recommendations. He has also consulted broadly with others across campus, the community and statewide. I have approved all of his recommendations, which are summarized below:

  • Suspend admissions to both Computer Science and Computer Information Systems until agreement can be reached on what, if any, computer programs to offer.
  • Restructure the Nursing program, including reducing the number of students admitted to the program from 60 to 40. Require the program to develop a plan to address numerous organizational challenges.
  • Suspend the MA in Theatre Arts with emphasis in Film Production, which currently has no students enrolled.
  • Review the entire Theatre, Film and Dance department, with a specific focus on the undergraduate and graduate programs in theatre.

I invite you to read the full recommendation from the Provost. In addition, the Academic Affairs website has detailed information about the Program Elimination process.

It should come as no surprise that the decision about the Nursing program was the most vexing. Nursing is one of the most expensive programs we have – both per-student and overall – but California also has a pressing need for new nurses. The Provost believes that changes can be made to make the program more cost effective, while his consultations with the community point to the potential for a broad partnership to help stabilize the program. In many other parts of the state, it is community support that allows universities to maintain nursing programs. In Humboldt, such support has funded projects like the Humboldt Bay Regional Simulation Center. More projects like this will be necessary, and we will be pursuing numerous possibilities.

The savings from these decisions, as well as the earlier decision to suspend the Industrial Technology program, amount to about $600,000 of the $1.3 million that had been sought through Program Elimination. Additional savings may be possible from the review of the Theatre, Film and Dance department.

Given that we are near the end of the semester, the Provost has decided not to seek further action on Program Elimination from the Academic Senate. He will make additional decisions on reductions in Academic Affairs following budget decisions in Sacramento and the reviews described above.

Going forward, we will need to be better about continuously reviewing, and making adjustments to, our academic offerings. There is constant change in the academic disciplines, student interests, and the needs of society and employers. We have to change along with them, not simply hold off until budget pressures force us to act. The recent Program Prioritization process, and to some extent the Program Elimination process, provided us with a good start, including a new base of information and analysis.

I will conclude in the same way the Provost’s recommendation does – with a word of appreciation for the cooperation and understanding shown by everyone involved in the Program Elimination process. Rather than focusing on individual interests, people from across campus came together to do what is best for our students and to maintain our University’s strengths. It demonstrates once again that Humboldt State’s greatest strength is the caring and commitment of our students, faculty, staff and administrators.


Rollin C. Richmond