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08 Mar Posted by in Academics, Business | 1 comment

We learned last week of the legislature’s decisions about various university issues, including funding. The good news was that, among other modest categories, we received a bit of new money to expand faculty in STEM disciplines broadly construed, and through this to expand student enrollment.

This is the first time we’ve had new money for academic purposes for anything but basic enrollment growth and scattered necessities in at least four years.

Joy must be tempered, of course. The fact is that our state allocation will still be lower next year than it is this, as a result of prior reduction decisions. So we’re simply a bit less badly off than initially expected, and we still have to take some difficult measures to keep the ship afloat.

Still, a bit of money, that has to be used for academic enhancement, gives one a heady feeling. I have written before about what seemed to me our relative success in maintaining a sense of dynamism and some innovation even amid severe budget cuts; money, indeed, is not everything.

But a bit of new funding is undeniably exciting. We will be able to enhance a number of educational offerings and delivery programs for students, where some additional faculty are crucial. Among other things we can experiment a bit to determine best practices for student learning in the science and technology domain, in some cases in ways relevant to other areas as well. So if we haven’t yet turned the fiscal corner, at least we’re not simply running into the wall for yet another year.