Faculty survey may help decide where to spend

Laura Kennedy

As budget cuts loom, members of the Faculty Senate are deciding what they want to spend their money on.

Faculty Senate President David Hopper said about 300 faculty participated in the budget survey, released on the Faculty Senate Web site, www.facsen.iastate.edu/documents.

Hopper, professor of veterinary, diagnostic and production animal medicine, said in addition to the statistical data, a compiled summary of the written comments would be placed on the Web site to assure the privacy of the respondents.

Dan Ashlock, associate professor of mathematics, said the purpose of the survey is to determine possible areas to cut funding and produce a general estimate of the feasible savings at Iowa State.

“We are in a huge budget crisis,” he said.

The survey includes 15 categories of faculty options, and Ashlock said some of these may result in establishing an energy conservation program or eliminating major projects and initiatives at the university to handle the budget shortfall.

He also said another option would be to lay off employees, but “the only problem is they are teaching all of the classes.”

Eliminating employees would result in larger classes and fewer classes at the university, Ashlock said. There is a possibility that 2,000 students will not be admitted into Iowa State next year because of the problems the university is facing with the budget shortfall, he said.

The faculty survey also gave long-term options such as significantly increasing tuition to cover the funding shortfall and eliminating selected programs and initiatives.

Chris Schilling, associate professor of materials science and engineering, said the faculty survey is a great way to pull faculty together in the time of budget cuts. “The state legislature is determined to cut big government, and Iowa State is viewed as big government,” he said.

The statistical data from the survey was shown to the public, Schilling said, whereas the written comments were not released.

He said many faculty might have given opinions on a number of different issues which were not included in the statistical part of the survey.

“It is a call for fiscal accountability,” he said.

Schilling also said releasing the written comments would add on to the statistical results, making the information more clear and understandable to students, faculty and the administration.

The statistical part of the survey doesn’t explain all of the options, he said.

“Students may get the impression that ISU is going to raise tuition and adjust the thermostat to solve the budget problem,” Schilling said.

Many faculty members are also upset and fear losing their jobs because they are not aware of the main problems, he said.

He said it would be helpful to compile graphs of how things have changed at Iowa State throughout the years.

“What’s coming down is a historically severe budget cut, and it is going to be statewide,” he said.