Which won’t come as any surprise to readers that know me.
Last week, I had an epiphany halfway through an online presentation about the state of the University I teach at. Despite two recent rounds of faculty cuts coupled with several other belt tightening moves, we continue to experience a significant budget deficit.
Finally, it’s now painfully obvious that substantial budget deficits are not anomalies, they are the newish normal. I use ‘newish’ instead of ‘new’ because we’ve contended with bruising budget deficits for nearly all of the last 7-8 years.
The epiphany most simply stated is this, annual budget deficits are now a feature of our University’s life.
And this distressing fact isn’t easily explained by a single cause like administrative incompetence. My fear is that the economics of tuition-dependent private liberal arts education are no match for our smart, caring, and hardworking President-Provost team.
I can’t blame the University’s administration for thinking positively and talking about a near future with balanced budgets. But fool me once, shame on you. Fool me seven or eight times, shame on me.
Ron, I’m sorry that perennial pain is the new normal. I agree that the current funding situation for liberal arts colleges is untenable. Fixing it can’t be done by tweaking the current system. A restructuring has to start at the very foundation, and schools are the very worst at dismantling what worked in the past but has historical roots so deep they can’t be touched. Like hiring yet another middle aged white man to lead the university at the cost of losing existing trustees and major potential benefactors. The fallout from that decision, sadly, has been substantial.
Hang in there, my friend. Perhaps some courageous, intelligent, dynamic risk-takers will change the tide while you and I alive to see it.
Thank you Linda. Great to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and yours!