Almost There

Administrators maintain budget-cutting focus
November 30, 2010

While the recession has been declared officially over, and financial markets have picked up in recent months, the university is still working to cut $40 million from its budget.

Administrators say that the process they began in 2008 will be completed on schedule and that they do not plan any involuntary layoffs, cutbacks in employee benefits, or alterations to the need-blind financial-aid program.

Duke’s endowment grew 13 percent in the last fiscal year, gifts to the university were up 15 percent, and faculty members received $200 million in new grants from federal stimulus funds. Some schools have added new degree programs as a way to raise revenue. Still, the endowment is $1.2 billion less than it was at the end of fiscal year 2008, and budget cuts will be needed over the next two years.

Administrators will work to reduce personnel expenses through faculty attrition. Trinity College of Arts & Sciences currently has 645 faculty members, the most ever, and has grown by 3 percent annually over the past six years. Trinity Dean Alvin Crumbliss has announced that the college will look to add junior faculty members in the coming years, but stressed that retirements need to outpace new hires. A pilot program in paperless payroll processing is also being implemented, which should produce savings.

The progress made during the past two years will allow employees to receive modest increases in salary after two consecutive years without raises.