Univ. budget reallocation to help academics

Melissa Weigel

In accordance with the new academic strategic plan, all non-academic areas of the University are reallocating 4-5 percent of their budget to the academic area. They can either transfer 4 percent of their budget over one year, or 5 percent over three years (2 percent, 2 percent, 1 percent).

The University created a new academic plan, which took about a year to write and was presented to the public last year. The new plan requires $14 million extra to fund its new initiatives. In order to come up with sufficient funds, freshman tuition was raised last year, graduate student enrollment increased and fundraisers were held. In order to make up for the shortcomings, the University decided to reallocate internal funds.

The Administrative Planning and Budget Committee, which is made up of all of the senior vice presidents of the University, the head of University Information Technologies and the head of the Office of Planning, Training and Institutional Research, created the new budget.

“We’re confident that the other areas will reallocate in a way that will not adversely affect students,” Dr. John Johannes, vice president of Academic Affairs, said. “After all, academics are the most important part of the University.”

The new money will be used to fund academic initiatives, such as improvement in advising (for instance, the new Arts and Sciences advisement program), strengthening the writing and math support centers, hiring additional faculty, buying more and better lab equipment, better maintaining classroom technology and expanding the University’s master’s and doctoral programs.

“This plan is designed to raise the academic profile of Villanova and improve the overall academic experience of our students, and we feel that is critical to the long-term success of the University,” Vince Nicastro, director of athletics, said. “Our goal is to manage the reallocation in ways that won’t impact our student-athletes directly … we are confident that it will be transparent to the students and their programs.”

Students may see some visible changes because of the budget reallocation. For instance, the U.S.A. readership program, in which the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today are available to students free of charge, will be cut next year. Also, there is the possibility that the SGA movie channel may be eliminated.

“They should keep at least one of them [the newspapers],” freshman Danielle Prior said. “It’s world news; it’s important to the students.”

Rev. John Stack, O.S.A., vice president for Student Life, said, “We are looking into arrangements with the cable company in which students can buy the premium channels [in addition to the HBO already offered], so students don’t need SGTV.” The Office for Student Life is trying to make sure that student groups are funded the same way.

Rev. William McGuire, O.S.A., vice president for administration, said, “This is not a negative thing at all. Some people are going to hurt, but this [academics] is why we’re here. “Looking at the fiscal situation of the world, we have been very, very careful. We have not gone for any massive cuts.”