North Dakota State University's plan to reduce budget deficit includes cutting 5 ag professor positions
The College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources plan will trim $600,000 from NDSU's total budget deficit.
The North Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources will lay off five professors and merge programs to reduce its budget by $600,000.
The college’s plan is part of the university’s overall goal of cutting its budget by $7.6 million to accommodate funding reductions of the North Dakota 2023-2025 legislative biennium.
The $7.6 million budget deficit is the result of a significant decline in NDSU’s enrollment during the last several years, said Greg Lardy, College of Agriculture Food Systems and Natural Resources dean and NDSU vice president for agricultural affairs.
In the fall of 2017, there were 14,358 students enrolled at NDSU, and in the fall of 2022 enrollment was 12,242, a decline of 2,116 students or 15%, according to NDSU.
The layoffs of the CAFSNR professors, who teach in the plant sciences, agribusiness and applied science and biosystems engineering, will be effective May 16, 2024. The five professors will have an opportunity to apply if openings are available in other NDSU departments and if they have the credentials needed for the position, Lardy said.
Overall, the plan is to reduce the number of full-time NDSU faculty positions — including some who are tenured — by 27.5. The reductions would include 19 current employees and 8.5 full-time-equivalent positions that are vacant, NDSU President David Cook said in a Feb. 28, 2023, email addressed to NDSU faculty, students, alumni and friends.
Another part of the budget deficit reduction plan is to reduce the number of NDSU colleges from seven to five on July 1, 2023, Cook said.
The Science and Mathematics College will merge with Arts and Sciences, and Human Services and Education will merge with Health Professions and Human Sciences. The new colleges will be agriculture, arts and sciences, business, engineering, and health professions and human sciences. Two dean positions will be cut as a result of the elimination of the two colleges.
Agricultural education faculty, who formerly were in the Human Services and Education Department, will move to the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources College, Lardy said. Agricultural Education will be combined with the North Dakota 4-H Youth Development Department.
Lardy will remain dean of the CAFSNR department, but a national search will be conducted to fill the college's associate dean position. David Buchanan, the longtime associate dean, has announced his retirement.
The CAFSNR's agricultural systems management program will merge with the precision agriculture program, Lardy said. Students who are enrolled in the agricultural systems management program will be able to finish their degrees. However, no new students will be accepted into the program.
Besides the reductions in programs and faculty, NDSU will also make investments that will improve enrollment, retention and success, including strategically increasing its fully online degrees that are targeted toward non-traditional students and North Dakota's workforce needs.
The university plans to launch new online programs to meet those needs and will assist students in achieving their professional goals, at the same time alleviating NDSU’s enrollment shortage, Cook said.