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UW to identify $20 million in cuts to academic programs by July
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UW to identify $20 million in cuts to academic programs by July

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Students make use of the computer lab inside the University of Wyoming library in October 2019 in Laramie.

The University of Wyoming is aiming to find $15-20 million to cut from academic programs by July, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Alexander told the Board of Trustees in a work session Friday.

Wyoming’s sole public four-year university needs to slash its budget as the state stares down a massive general fund deficit that has led to millions in cuts statewide. The university has been tasked with cutting $42 million from its two-year budget, with potentially another $21 million Gov. Mark Gordon has told the university to prepare for, according to school President Ed Seidel’s budget reduction plan.

The university in late October announced it would be cutting 78 staff positions and nearly 20 degree programs, as well as consolidating multiple programs, to begin to meet the shortfall. The cuts were estimated to save the university $2.5 million annually, according to a release from the institution published Oct. 27.

But that announcement covered just the first phase.

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Alexander said Friday every program the university offers will be reviewed between now and May, and the board will receive recommendations for areas to cut or consolidate by July. She said there was no way to know how many programs will be eliminated until they are reviewed, but she did call the cuts unprecedented, adding, “this is going to be a major undertaking.”

She hopes by May to have identified $15 million in savings, with another $5 million to present by July, she said.

The programs the university has already announced will likely be cut include a storied creative writing program as well as advanced degrees in agronomy, American studies, psychology, chemistry and teaching history.

Several minors in the College of Business, as well as Bachelor’s degree programs in secondary French, German and Spanish education are on the chopping block as well.

Before any of the proposed or to-be-identified cuts are approved, the proposals must be made available for review for 120 days. The faculty and staff senates and Associated Students organization will also be given the change to submit feedback, according to the university’s October announcement.

We intend to be very strategic, cut where things do not contribute to the above themes, or where they are stale or not growing, and selectively invest where they do,” Seidel said in that release. “Ultimately, we’re working to help be part of the solution to lay the foundation for the new economy of the state.”

Follow health and education reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @m0rgan_hughes

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Health and education reporter

Morgan Hughes covers health and education in Wyoming. After growing up in rural Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University in 2018. She moved to Wyoming shortly after and covered education in Cheyenne before joining the Star-Tribune in May 2019.

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