Budget plan top priority for NKU

Budget plan, Quality Enhancement Plan and newly elected senate members were the top priorities of the Faculty Senate during their meeting on Jan. 26.

The budget continues to be the top priority due to the faltering economy.

Northern Kentucky University’s budget plan outlined by President’ James Votruba has some ‘immediate repercussions’ and ‘long-term effects.’

The meeting agenda states that the immediate NKU plans are to have ‘a six-month hiring freeze, deeper non-instructional cuts by the vice presidents, more reliability on student workers, travel slow down, and careful scrutiny of operational funds.’

The long-term effects would be ‘a 10 percent budget cut, review of revenue, productivity and expenses, per-credit-hour fee, and limiting growth.’

The per-credit-hour fee continues to be the hot topic among faculty and students, which would charge students per credit for every hour over 13.

Professor John Metz, from the History and Geography department, raised concern during the meeting. ‘How will students wanting to move through the system in four years be able to afford the cost of the per credit hour?’ Metz said.

Votruba responded, ‘We have looked at the data from schools, such as Morehead and Southern Illinois, that have gone to per credit hour, and it doesn’t show students dropping credit hours even though they have to pay more. Our per-credit-hour plan would be highly discounted, at around 25-30 percent of the cost of a current credit hour. Also, we have looked at giving some type of financial rebate for those students moving quickly through the system.’

These financial rebates, according to Votruba, would come in the form of a large rebate when a student graduates in four years, or a per semester rebate if a student keeps a certain amount of hours.

‘Obviously these are some of the big questions we are going to have to answer,’ he said.
Votruba stated that the reason for the per-credit-hour fee is that ’49 percent of NKU students take 12 hours or less, and those students are paying for the students taking 13 and above.’

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which was brought forward by the faculty a couple years ago to give NKU a method to judge itself, will have an onsite team visit NKU Feb. 23 to 25 to judge how NKU’s ‘active learning’ plan is working. Active Learning is when students engage in their studies, either through homework, or in class group work.

‘Active learning is appropriate for a university like NKU, because it engages students in studies and in campus life, says Votruba, ‘there is data that shows that when students are involved in their studies and campus life they get a better education.’

The meeting also named it’s new faculty senate officers and committee members: President Alar Lipping, from the Kinesiology Dept., Vice President Kristi Haik, from the Biology Dept., returning Secretary Perry Bratcher from Steely Library, and returning Parliamentarian Steve Weiss from the Communications Dept.

There was one newly elected committee member: Ken Engbretson, from the Social Work Dept, was named to the Budget committee. Returning will be KC Russell, from the Chemistry Dept., to the Benefits committee, Ron Shaw, from the Theater Dept., returns to the Curriculum committee and Scottie Barty, from the Accountancy Dept., returns to the Professional Concerns committee.