University of Alberta looks at reducing number of professors to cut budget
EDMONTON — The University of Alberta is looking at reducing its number of professors as it continues to struggle with a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall.
The province announces a post-secondary funding cut of about seven per cent in March.
In response, the university originally proposed a three-year plan, which would have seen its budget reduced by $28 million a year.
But the university officials say they have been informally told by the province to “move more rapidly” to balance the budget.
That means the school is now considering a fast-tracked two-year solution, which would see $56 million cut from next year’s budget.
To try and make up the difference, the university announced on Tuesday that it will be offering voluntary severance packages to staff.
“About 75 per cent of our operating budget is in the form of compensation — salary and benefits,” said acting provost Martin Ferguson-Pelland. “So it’s without a doubt an area that we have got to address and look to see whether or not we can make some significant savings.”
NDP MLA David Eggen is worried about some of the potential implications of cutting staff.
“We’ll end up with larger class sizes, students will have to pay more, and the quality of instruction will suffer,” he said. “You can’t just take that much money out — 10 per cent of the whole budget — and not expect to see devastating consequences.”