SEMO looking to consolidate departments in response to state budget cuts

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Changes are on the way for Southeast Missouri State University in response to millions of dollars in cuts to the state budget.

SEMO's provost Karl Kunkel tells says students shouldn't see a loss of classes or activities on campus.

He says their plan is to make the cuts from administrative umbrellas.

Back in January the state cut $3.43 million dollars for the school.

Kunkel is looking at a few options currently that would combine departments that he believes have like minded topics.

For example: combining the departments of criminal justice and social work is on the table.

Kunkel says when it comes to budget cuts restructuring is normal.

"A combined department with multiple degree programs is not unusual, both at this university, and across the country," Kunkel said. "Therefore, I would want to assure the students that their day to day experience, and their degree, and the value of their degree, what they learn from their degree, and the opportunities that come from the degree will be exactly the same as the were before."

Kunkel says combining of departments would only be when it makes sense and not just merging departments for the sake of cutting cost.

"You know, obviously budget reductions are not fun to do, but sometimes they do create opportunities for the institution to rethink what we're doing, what we do well, and what we want to do in the future. Therefore, I do believe that this has been an exercise that will be something that benefits the institution in the long run," Kunkel said.

Provost Karl Kunkel couldn't give an exact number of jobs that would be cut but says the number will be low.

The jobs that may be cut are mostly administrative staff, but those employees wouldn't necessarily be out of a job.

Depending on the number of departments that are combined - some department heads would go back to being instructors, and some administrative employees would be able to apply for other jobs at the university.

No decision is expected to be made for the next few months on what exact departments will see changes.

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