BREAKING: SDSU officials announce actions to balance budget


South Dakota State University officials announced today actions to balance the university’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 in response to a 10 percent reduction in state appropriations. This is the third consecutive year of substantial cuts in state appropriations to the university, the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station.

President David Chicoine, in a message to university employees, said the reduction in state appropriations will have a noticeable impact on the university, including layoffs, department closures, reorganization, elimination of academic programs, and the continuous quest to drive down costs.

“Today’s announcement is the result of a complete and thorough process led by Provost Laurie Nichols working with the deans that involved faculty, staff, students, external constituents and university administrators,” Chicoine said. “The university will look different next year. Because of the reset to the state’s budget, the university cannot sustain business as usual.

The university is faced with a $1.85 million cut in state appropriations based on the 10 percent reduction in state funds and the South Dakota Board of Regents’ recent decision to increase tuition and fees by 6.9 percent. The university also has unavoidable costs to cover and transitional costs. The total – including the net cut, unavoidable costs and transition funding – is $3.825 million.

Program and administrative adjustments account for 84.6 percent of the $3.825 million. Reorganization is 3.8 percent, and the remaining 11.6 percent will be realized through efficiencies. The impact is 65.4 percent to academic programs and 34.6 percent in administration.

Unavoidable costs include the loss of federal funding for the financial aid office, lost tuition revenue from programs being eliminated, the need to fully fund the College of Nursing and resources to meet The Higher Learning Commission accreditation requirements. Investments are also needed for the student success model, student orientation and enhanced Web development. Transitional resources will be needed to fund the phase-outs of academic programs the next two years.

“We remain committed to the core mission as South Dakota’s land-grant university and to providing the best possible academic experience for students,” Chicoine said. “The deans in their work have made every effort to lessen the impact on students; unfortunately, the reduced state support for the third year in a row means that class sizes and student-to-faculty ratios will increase.

The academic program adjustments include the elimination of one master’s degree, four baccalaureate degrees and two undergraduate specializations. Additionally, one undergraduate degree will be suspended.

The reorganizations include the dissolution of one academic department and one administrative department, the creation of a new academic department, the closure of two service laboratories and the closure of two experiment station locations.

The efficiencies include larger class sizes, limited numbers of sections in certain disciplines, eliminating all faculty overloads and employee overtime, and utilizing more lecturers and graduate teaching assistants.

As a result, 55 employees received layoff notices in the past seven business days —14 from the university, 31 within the Agricultural Experiment Station and 10 from Cooperative Extension Service offices on campus. Another 27 positions will be eliminated through vacancies, and 8.8 retirements will be part of the overall reductions, bringing the overall number of positions eliminated to 90.8.

On Tuesday the Cooperative Extension Service announced a net reduction of 20 positions as part of a reorganization that takes effect in October.

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget marks the third consecutive year state general funds to higher education have been cut by South Dakota’s state government. For the Board of Regents, the cut is $27.8 million since Fiscal Year 2009, a 15.6 percent reduction. State funding over the same period has been cut more than $1.7 million to AES and more than $1.2 million for CES.

Academic Adjustments

Eliminate five academic programs and place one academic program on suspension

Programs being eliminated are:

Physics (M.S.)

Engineering physics (B.S.)

Electronics engineering technology (B.S.)

Manufacturing engineering technology (B.S.)

Career and technical education (B.S.Ed.)

Program being suspended:

Software engineering (B.S.)

Eliminate two specializations

Media production within the undergraduate degree in journalism

Park management within the undergraduate degree in park and recreation management

Move six full-time university faculty positions from 12-month to 9-month contracts

Move faculty from 12-month to 10-month contracts

69 faculty research positions in Agricultural Experiment Station

30 faculty positions in Cooperative Extension Service

Eliminate fall graduation ceremony


College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences

Eliminate two departments

Horticulture, Forestry, Landscape and Parks

AgBio Communications

Create a Department of Natural Resources

Includes existing program elements in:

Wildlife and fisheries sciences

Horticulture, forestry, landscape and parks


Animal and range sciences

Agricultural Experiment Station

Close sites in Miller and in Highmore

Close two service units

Olson Biochemistry Analytical Services Laboratory

Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory

Combine International Affairs, International Student Affairs, and Continuing and Extended Education into one academic support unit

Dissolve Department of Physics in the College of Engineering and move the program to the College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1

Study organizational structures of the Graduate School and College of Arts and Sciences

Efficiency Gains

Implement academic program reductions by reducing faculty full-time equivalencies, increasing class size, and reducing number of sections

Implement block scheduling in select general education courses

Increase use of instructors and graduate teaching assistants

Eliminate benefits for part-time employees

Eliminate all faculty overloads and employee overtime