At Utah State University it is unavoidable that the economic downturn will mean a permanent decrease in state support. During his Tuesday “State of the University” address USU President Stan L. Albrecht shared that message as he told assembled faculty and staff there will be profound changes in how the school does business. He also said the school will weather the recession and emerge not only intact, but prepared for greater accomplishments. “I looked at a broad range of things in that presentation,” said Albrecht, “some of them challenging but most of them really positive in terms of where the university is going.” President Albrecht presented an idea for a possible new academic college of fine arts. “One of the outcomes of an administrative retreat early in the spring included spinning off the Caine School of the Arts and create the Caine College of the Arts. I found that argument very compelling. So, as I said in the address, we’re beginning conversations with faculty and others to explore that.” Albrecht acknowledged the university has endured three rounds of state-imposed budget cuts with another coming up. Tuesday he announced all USU employees would have to take another furlough between July 2010 and July 2011. “It’s really designed to help us avoid a significant number of additional job losses,” he said. “We’re facing another $13 million out of our budget, I hope that number doesn’t go higher. “We’re talking about ways of dealing with that, not just with the budget-cutting side of our operation but with the revenue-enhancing side of our operation. The furlough really falls under that second category.” He said it would not be applied this year but would take place in the 2011 fiscal year. “It would be modest, it would be spread over 12 months,” he said, “We think the impact on our work force would be really modest. We’re talking two or three days for our lower paid employees spread over a 12-month period. We’ve tried to look at it as a way to save jobs and at the same time really minimize the impact on the USU workforce.” Albrecht said he’s received a positive response from faculty and staff. “Those responding appreciate the fact that while we still have challenging times ahead, this is a great institution and that we have great momentum. “I didn’t anticipate that we would hit the wall as we’ve hit it with this recession, but we’re going to find our way through it and we’ll be okay.”
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