Cancelling Winthrop sponsorship and staff support for some external activities, including the region’s annual “Shrinkdown” wellness initiative.
Because Winthrop had kept its own non-state revenue projections modest when establishing its budget over the summer, it will also be able to direct what it actually has received this fall toward the budget gap, officials said, adding that lawmakers will allow them to also direct a portion of lottery proceeds normally required to be spent on technology to go toward filling the operating gap.
The most challenging part of the changes ahead, the president said, involves making some temporary academic shifts that are being approached in a way that ensures national program accrediting bodies that “Winthrop quality will remain Winthrop quality.” Those include:
DiGiorgio said Winthrop’s strong record of commitment to national accreditation and the solid reviews it always receives during accreditation visits for various programs means accrediting bodies are willing to trust the institution to protect program quality while making such adjustments in light of the sudden state cuts in a national economic downturn.
He cited the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education as a case in point, indicating that it already has agreed to allow Winthrop and other institutions in good standing to postpone accreditation visits for a year. He expects other accrediting bodies to follow suit.
If he has a concern about the overall situation, DiGiorgio told trustees, “it is signals we are now getting that additional cuts could be ahead after the first of the year. Higher education can not continue to be the sacrificial part of the state budget. States that are successful in growing their per capita income invest more, not less, in helping citizens earn four-year degrees. This state’s challenge is to bring its revenue generation back in line with that goal, which is really the way to rebuild the economy long-term.”
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