U. of Mich. Budget Panel Urges Ed. School Cuts
A "budget priorities" committee of the University of Michigan has recommended sharp cuts in the size and scope of the institution's school of education, considered to be one of the top programs in the country.
Under the committee's plan, the budget of the school of education would be cut by 40 percent over the next four years, enrollment would be reduced from 800 to 500, the number of full-time faculty would be cut from 75 to 45, undergraduate programs would be phased out, and the school would offer the Ed.D. degree rather than the Ph.D., as it now does.
"By and large, the school's programs are undistinguished," said Mary Anne Swain, professor of nursing research and chairman of the budget-priorities committee. "The quality of its students and the publication record of its faculty are not what they should be and the school has too many different programs, which results in the dilution of faculty energy."
'Cuts are Justified'
"There is a belief that the money could be better spent elsewhere," she added. "The cuts are justified."
Joan S. Stark, dean of the school of education, said the charges made against the school in the report were inadequately documented and re-flected obvious biases against education studies. The budget committee, she added, had no representative from the education school among the university administrators, faculty members, and students, that sat on it.
Ms. Stark also said the proposed changes will severely damage the reputation of the school. Many of those on the committee are members of university units that "stand to gain from the cuts to education," she added.
Ms. Stark has resigned, effective July 1, but has agreed to stay in her job until next January if necessary.
The school of education was one of three--along with the schools of arts and natural resources--targeted by the university last year for sharp cuts under a broad universitywide austerity program. Most of the university's other programs were cut by up to 10 percent.
Billy E. Frye, the university's provost and vice-president for academic affairs, was scheduled last week to hold a public hearing on the budget committee's recommendations. Then, in consultation with the other six top administrators of the university, he will act on the committee's proposals.
The budget committee is an advisory panel. But a university spokesman said that its recommendations historically have been followed by the university's top administrators.