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SCHEV approves university's plan

By John Ashby

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 13 - November 17, 1994

Virginia Tech's restructuring plan has been approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

While restructuring plans from all public colleges and universities were mandated by the state this fall, Virginia Tech has "essentially been restructuring for the past four years," according to President Paul Torgersen. Torgersen told members of the Board of Visitors at the September meeting that the university has realized "significant productivity improvements" through its restructuring efforts.

Tech's efforts have been characterized by state officials as a model for other colleges and universities to follow in their restructuring efforts. Mike McDowell of SCHEV described the university's plan as "one of the finest that we had." Reviewers of the plan included all SCHEV council members and staff as well as four nationally recognized experts in higher education.

McDowell credited Virginia Tech with "understanding what was needed before the reallocation plan was mandated," and, thus, being "well along the way and ahead of universities that had not anticipated what they needed to do."

The university has funded new initiatives, such as integrating instructional technology, and making over the university administrative system, through internal reallocation. Tech was the first university in the state to require all organizational units to revert up to 1.5 percent of the previous year's budget to the central administration for reallocation to more urgent priorities. By the year 2000, the university will have reallocated approximately $40 million toward restructuring.

The university has set four main goals to achieve through its restructuring efforts. In order of priority they are: 1) improving the quality of undergraduate instruction, 2) controlling costs, 3) accepting additional in-state students, and 4) contributing to the state's economic health.

The university will also pursue other quality improvements such as increasing retention and graduation rates.

According to McDowell, Gov. George Allen has indicated that schools which have had their restructuring plans approved would not be subject to possible 2-,4-, or 6-percent budget cuts which had been discussed at the beginning of the semester.