University Cuts Could Mean Fewer Nursing Instructors in Norfolk

NORFOLK – When Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that the University of Nebraska would be receiving a $23 million dollar reduction in state funding, university  officials say they knew cuts would have to be made.

“The only ways that we can deal with it  is to eliminate whole programs, change the instruction methodology or place a tuition burden on students,” UNMC Chancellor Dr.  Jeffrey Gold told News Channel Nebraska in an interview Tuesday. “The latter of those choices is not a terribly good thing to do.”

Dr. Gold says UNMC is among the colleges that is, in the university’s words, streamlining their educational model. That means there will likely be less instructors at the College of Nursing in Norfolk in the future.

“The proposals that were brought forward are to better coordinate and organize the instruction across the University of Nebraska Medical Center nursing program,” Dr. Gold said. “To use instructional faculty on one campus and high-quality digital technology on other campuses to link the campuses together in a way that will allow high-quality education to occur without necessarily as much boots-on-the-ground faculty.”

Dr. Gold said that an exact number of staff that would be affected in Norfolk has not been determined, and added that any changes would not go into effect until the 2018-19 academic year. Gold said they utilized input from a number of sources in making their decision.

“A very, very broad process was put into place where requests were made of every single member of the faculty, the staff and the student body for both revenue enhancement and budget reduction,” Dr. Gold said.

The potential eliminations are just proposals right now. NU officials are planning to visit with the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee in a hearing on Wednesday. In the meantime, students and staff at the College of Nursing will have to wait and see how the budget cuts will affect them.

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