FSU provost: cut Centers of Excellence money
With universities facing between $100-million and $232-million in state budget cuts this year and more for 2008-09, FSU Provost Larry Abele has offered up a politically unpopular proposal: Don't include tens of millions for research Centers of Excellence in the budgets for this year and the next.
The current year's budget includes $100-million for the Centers, which universities like USF have established to boost their research reputations; and the 2008-09 budget proposal includes $30-million for the Centers. The board of governors' budget-cutting proposal, as ordered by the governor to deal with more than $1-billion in revenue shortfalls, doesn't suggest cutting the Centers' $100-million funding.
Abele suggested last month in a letter to the board that oversees Florida's universities that the money, while not a recurring source of revenue, could be used to at least temporarily fill some of the basic needs for universities facing large class sizes and low retention and graduation rates.
"How can we reduce services to students while spending funds that do not directly serve the vast majority of our students?" Abele asked.
The board of governors is meeting at USF today, and the chancellor declared yesterday that universities must go "back to basics" with their spending. But so far no one is talking about Abele's proposal, which doesn't go over well for universities trying to boost their research stature.