By Casey Tolliver
The budget cuts announced last semester by Gov. Steve Beshear are changing the amount of instructors, and in some instances the curriculum, in certain departments at EKU.The cuts, which have also led to increases in the cost of tuition at many state universities, have meant that some instructors are leaving or retiring, without being replaced.
Dr. Dirk Schlingmann, chair of the EKU department of math and statistics, said he sees this as potentially detrimental to EKU.
“The cuts created a hiring freeze. It’s not good for us,” Schlingmann said. “A university wants to be open to bring in people in from everywhere. It’s created trouble finding instructors.”
And in some circumstances, some positions may no longer exist when a faculty member retires, Schlingmann said.
The math department isn’t the only academic department cutting positions.
According to Dr. Sara Zeigler, chair of the EKU department of government, her department also stands a good chance of loosing faculty members.
“We have coverage for the General Education sections, by and large, but have had to find some
temporary fixes to cover our public law courses,” Zeigler said. “We have some real gaps in terms of the areas of expertise represented.”
The difference for students will be in the variety of classes available, and the ability to take online and extended campus sections, Zeigler added.
The Department of Government has had four faculty members retire, but replacements for two of the instructors were found before the budget cuts, which means that those positions will not be affected by the cuts.
The Department of Government was unable to replace Dr. Ron Dean, who retired last year. Currently the Department of Government is sharing an instructor with the QEP service learning initiative.
Despite the possibility of losing more faculty members, as well as the possible effects on the curriculum, Zeigler thinks that things could have been worse.
“Other departments are in a tougher situation,” she said. “They lost people
after the cuts were announced.”
Zeigler said many departments are facing severe shortages that are having a direct effect on students.
Ryan Northern, an English major from Berea, has experienced difficulties related to the budget cuts.
“I pay $3,000 for tuition and have to sit on a stool that’s not even big enough for my ass,” Northern said.
Northern said he was unsure whether there would be a teacher for one of his classes this semester. “We didn’t have a professor,” Northern said. “All of us designing our schedule around it were timid because we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
The university could also look to the landscape for answers to the budget problems, Northern added.
“It seems like they are wasting money by using annual flowers instead of perennials,” Northern said. “They could be using perennials and not have to replace them every year.”
The history department has also had retirements and resignations related to the budget cuts, Melinda Baker, Resource and Budget analyst for the Office of the Provost said.