Saturday, January 31, 2009

$100M short out of $1.6bn

That's the budget cut for the UT System that appears to be looming.
How should this be effected?
The administration have repeatedly said they want to cut strategically rather than across-the-board. Presumably, in this case, the ORNL/UT link would be nourished, as it is hard to think of anything more strategically critical to UT than exploiting the world's best instrumentation in neutron scattering and supercomputing as well as the bioenergy emphasis, in order to climb up the rankings.

So where should the cuts be made?

Well, poorly performing or redundant departments and institutes may be targets.
As I do not have a good overview of this I wouldn't be able to make suggestions.

And tuition is also under discussion -
- the table below indicates that UT tuition, although having rapidly increased in recent years, is still below the norm

And what, finally, about salaries?
Maybe an across-the-board percentage cut for all except the very lowest earners?

But in times of stress one always scrutinises the top salaries.
The UT top administrators, who are under flak for appearing to have made UT top heavy, have all taken a voluntary 5% pay cut already.
They earn roughly the same as the 5-10 top 'Distinguished Professors' (such as myself). Few people are talking yet about targeting salaries of the highest-paid professors, and those with UT/ORNL Joint Appointments are only partially paid by UT (75% in my case) but I would not question any cut deemed fair and necessary by both the administration and the general UT populace. Of course, however, the deeper the cut, the more eyes tend to wander for gainful employment elsewhere, but, as for me, I've only just started here and am still building things up.......

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