September 25, 2012

UHart shakeup may ax Construction Institute, others

University of Hartford President Walter Harrison

A faculty and staff task force has recommended a sweeping reorganization of the University of Hartford's program offerings and operating budget to position the West Hartford school for future growth.

Under the plan unveiled late Monday, 48 academic and administrative programs are targeted for "divestment" while 17 programs are targeted for "investment." Another 187 programs are ticketed for either "maintenance" or "restructuring."

On the list for elimination are the Construction Institute, a wide range of performing arts offerings at the Hartt School and a number of degree offerings including nursing education leadership, the master's in electrical engineering and the gender studies program.

The Barney School of Business is on the list for greater investment, but the entrepreneurial studies program and minors in human resources and management information systems minors are targeted for "divestment."

"We face both increased competition from other colleges and universities and increased financial need among our students," President Walter Harrison said in his message releasing the report to faculty and staff. "In order to improve our competitive position and to meet our students' financial needs, we intend to reallocate our budget priorities by reducing the number of programs we offer and providing better support to our priority programs. This is not a budget reduction plan; it is budget neutral."

The plan calls for reallocating about $7 million of the $150 million operating budget. Campus meetings on the task force's proposal are scheduled for Tuesday and for Monday. The goal is for the board of governors to finalize changes before the end of the fall semester.

In releasing the report, the university said any changes would not affect current students.

The school estimates that if all recommendations are adopted over the next five years, 30 to 40 faculty and staff out of the university's full-time base of about 1,000 employees would be affected. The programs recommended for divestment currently enroll about 200 students out of the current university enrollment of about 7,000.

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