CLA releases report on its future

A town hall meeting on the report is scheduled for tomorrow.

by Taryn Wobbema

The College of Liberal Arts released a report Friday outlining its âÄúboldâÄù goals for completely reconfiguring the college to save money and remain competitive. CLA will host a town hall meeting Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Rarig CenterâÄôs In-Flux room. Dean James Parente and the co-chairs of the CLA 2015 committee will be present to discuss the information sent out in the report. Gary Oehlert, the committeeâÄôs co-chair, said CLA is taking the task very seriously. âÄúWeâÄôre talking about how the college will survive in a landscape of changed budgets,âÄù Oehlert said. âÄúWe want people to know the kinds of things weâÄôre thinking about, the kinds of things weâÄôre hoping to achieve so we can get some feedback.âÄù For months, the University of Minnesota has talked of the potential dismantling of programs to address the long-term budget challenges resulting from decreased funding from the state. President Bob Bruininks tasked each academic unit with identifying the programs and activities that should receive more funding and those that could be cut. In January, the CLA 2015 committee formed to tackle the 2.75 percent budget cut levied on each University academic and support unit. With the dissemination of the interim report, the committee has moved on to the long-term decisions. Oehlert said the report is still preliminary and ultimate decisions wonâÄôt be made for another six months. However, the committee established 14 goals that will likely shape the final outcome. âÄúWe have to figure out how to move forward,âÄù he said. The report centers on offering fewer programs of a greater quality that will attract both undergraduate and graduate students. Oehlert said the college will have to prove itself to the public, which he said looks excitedly at medical breakthroughs. The value of liberal arts is often less tangible. The report also states that, because of the UniversityâÄôs tenure policy, the collegeâÄôs faculty will not face layoffs. Instead, the cuts will have to come from all other areas. âÄúThis is going to sound very harsh, but it is reality. Most of CLAâÄôs budget is salary and fringe benefits. Saving money means someone doesnâÄôt get paid,âÄù Oehlert said.