Fort Hays State University stresses limited, temporary nature of Virtual College course reduction

Responding to inaccurate reports and the fears of some students, Fort Hays State University's chief academic officer today said that reductions in Virtual College offerings in response to mandated budget cuts are very small and will affect only one semester.

"We are only cutting about 40 courses and sections, and only in the spring 2003 semester, out of more than 400 courses and sections being offered for that semester," said Dr. Larry Gould, provost, or chief academic officer, of Fort Hays State.

"And that's only for low-enrollment courses," he said, explaining that, generally, that meant courses with nine or fewer students enrolled.

He emphasized two points about the cuts: 1) they are temporary -- these courses will return; and 2) every effort will be made to find replacement courses for the affected students.

Gould said that every student affected by the course reduction is being contacted and the university will work to find alternative courses that fit in with each student's program of study.

These temporary measures are necessitated by the latest round of cuts in the state budget announced by Gov. Bill Graves. The $78 million statewide budget cut amounts to a $1,229,871 reduction at FHSU.

Gould said the Virtual College reduction will save about $100,000 in salary expenditures. Even at that, he said, spending on Virtual College salaries for the spring 2003 semester will still be about $30,000 above spring 2002.

"We will still have more courses than ever before in the Virtual College," he said, "and students should be aware that we will continue to develop courses and we will continue to increase resources for the Virtual College."

Gould also expressed appreciation to the faculty.

"I want to thank the faculty for their understanding in this difficult situation, and for being willing to be part of the solution," he said.

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