University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber is calling on the campus community for their ideas and suggestions to help overcome projected budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an email to campus Wednesday, Gaber asked faculty and staff to collectively problem solve, innovate and prioritize our efforts as a University community.
“These are difficult times for all of us, but we’re in this together,” Gaber said. “Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas and suggestions.”
An online form has been created to allow individuals to provide their ideas for cost savings, cost avoidance and generating resources in support of achieving the University’s educational mission and advancing our strategic goals.
The immediate impact of the pandemic on the University’s finances includes more than $13 million in economic losses to date due to housing and dining refunds; lost revenue in auxiliaries without campus events; decline in tuition and fee revenue projections due to expected declines in summer enrollment; and increases in some expenses as a result of moving to remote classes and work arrangements.
In addition, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has discussed a potential 20% cut in state funding, not just for this year, but also for the upcoming fiscal year. This would represent nearly $5 million in UToledo’s current fiscal year that runs through June 30 and almost $23 million in the next fiscal year.
The University has reduced campus expenditures, implemented a hiring freeze, and postponed most capital projects. Gaber also announced that the senior leadership team and deans are taking a 20% salary reduction effective immediately for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
“And yet, we know it won’t be enough,” she said. “The gravity of this economic challenge will have a direct impact on all of us.”
This is the second time the president has called for the innovative ideas of the campus community to improve the University. In the fall, a Good Idea Initiative was launched seeking suggestions to make an impact in either promoting student success through increasing graduation, retention or enrollment; or increased efficiency, process improvements or cost savings/avoidance.
From that initiative, a faculty member suggested having the Division of Enrollment Management and colleges coordinate to invite science, technology, engineering and math teachers from area high schools to visit campus during High School Professional Days. And a staff member proposed an intensive training session for business managers and administrative professionals who work on budgets and finance and human resource issues.