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2/17/2012 10:38:00 AM
Indiana State University gets report on cost cutting

Sue Loughlin, Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — An Indiana State University task force charged with finding ways to keep an ISU education affordable presented its lengthy list of recommendations Thursday.

Those recommendations include a reduction in the number of credit hours and time needed to graduate, a pilot project using electronic textbooks and greater use of student employees in entry level, unskilled jobs to reduce personnel costs.

Others include converting university vehicles to alternative fuel sources and letting students work in residence halls to help pay their housing costs.

Those are just a few of the suggestions.

Jack Maynard, ISU provost, presented the task force’s report to ISU trustees on Thursday. Subcommittees looked at textbooks and supplies; facilities, services and administrative structure; housing and dining; and instruction.

University President Dan Bradley appointed the task force last fall after establishing a goal of holding future increases in student costs to annual increases in the cost of living.

Bradley will now work with the steering committee to develop recommendations for immediate and long-term consideration. He hopes to have those ready by the end of the semester, after receiving faculty input.

After Thursday’s seminar, Bradley commented on some of the recommendations likely to move forward.

A pilot project will use electronic textbooks to see if it saves students’ money and meets their needs.

ISU is going to have to look at reducing the number of credits required to graduate, he said. Also, some basic studies courses need to be redesigned.

In addition, “I think we’ll have more jobs for students on campus,” which will help students pay for their education, Bradley said.

It would involve entry-level, unskilled jobs. “We won’t reduce staff to make that happen. We have a lot of turnover in a lot of those jobs anyway,” Bradley said.

Maynard also talked about the need to address certain courses, in particular entry-level courses where a high percentage of students drop them and withdraw early and earn grades of D or F.

Course transformation would involved rethinking how the course is taught, integrating technology and providing supplemental instruction where appropriate, he said.

Other recommendations include:

• Reorganize summer school to be more similar to a third semester.

• Create a University College to better focus on the needs of first-year students.

• Modify university policies regarding textbooks; explore new models of buying, selling, and returning (buying back) textbooks.

• Reactivate an energy awareness and conservation program.

• Explore outsourcing of services, where appropriate.

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