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President Engstrom Responds To Budget Feedback From Faculty

Fiscal Year 2004, 2013, 2015 UM Employee FTE by employee classification
UM/Office of the President
Fiscal Year 2004, 2013, 2015 UM Employee FTE by employee classification

In response to faculty criticism of his plan to cut 201 jobs at the University of Montana, school President Royce Engstrom today said it does not constitute an attack on the humanities or liberal arts.

Engstrom announced the job cuts November 17. He says they’re necessary following several years of declining enrollment at UM.

Most jobs will be cut in liberal arts departments including anthropology, English and Geography.

But Engstrom said liberal arts are “essential to our identity at UM and … we are definitely keeping them.” But, he said he also recognizes that enrollments in some liberal arts programs have significantly decreased over recent years.

Engstrom also refuted charges that UM’s administration has become “bloated” in recent years. He said the percentage of UM’s general fund that has gone to administration “has remained at essentially 8 percent for the past five years.” The amount allocated to instruction, the President said, has grown “by a couple of percentage points in the last couple of years.”

While UM has added 71 contract professionals since 2004, Engstrom says they are neither administrators nor instructors, but related to “student success” and “compliance.”

Engstrom is planning to meet with faculty, staff, and student leaders Friday. He says “a final set of actions will be announced in early January.”

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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