NCSU chancellor plots 'thoughtful' cuts to programs, people

Posted March 15, 2011 8:58 a.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2011 7:09 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University is considering cutting about 600 courses and some "less effective" programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Those who study at State could also see larger class sizes in the future.

The move is part of Chancellor Randy Woodson's strategic alignment plan, designed to make the university more effective and efficient in anticipation of a reduction in state funding.

Woodson said Tuesday he has not set a target for how much to cut from the university budget. That will be determined when the state legislature approves its budget, he said. "We don’t know the severity of the budget constraints we are under, so we can’t give you a final number at this point," he said.

There will positions cut, he said, but he hopes to limit the number of people who lose their jobs by cutting through attrition, turnover and early retirement offers.  

"This is more about aligning and realigning the university to maximum efficiency and effectiveness in light of fiscal restraints we know we’re going to see," he said.

Woodson said his goal it to keep N.C State competitive and implement any plan in a deliberate and thoughtful way. 

School leaders used criteria such as enrollment, number of applications, degrees awarded and SAT or GRE scores of applicants to determine the programs that will get a closer look. (See a full list of the programs, pages 6 and 7.)

He described any adjustments to N.C. State's offerings as "growth and redistribution." 

"We certainly are going to get smaller," he said, noting that applications are at an all-time high.

"There’s a reason why UNC and N.C. State are always on the 'best buy' list for higher education. We are an incredible buy," he said.

"We provide a great return for investment for the students that come here, and I’d hate to lose that."

Robert Clark, a graduate student who also got his undergraduate degree at State, said crowding in popular programs is a concern. Clark said he and others struggle to get the classes they need in time to graduate. 

"Less classes offered means larger class sizes and, depending on the size of the room or class cap size that registration puts on, it will be difficult to get your classes scheduled," he said.

Any changes would go into effect July 1, with the beginning of the new fiscal year.