UConn Profs Express ‘Deep Alarm’ Over Budget Cuts

Share

TwitterFacebookCopy LinkPrintEmail

We write to you as Endowed Chairs and as Distinguished Professors at the University of Connecticut to express our deep alarm over the drastic budget cuts proposed for the University of Connecticut. This severe draining of resources from academic units at the university will inflict permanent, irreparable harm to the Research- 1 standing of the flagship university of the state of Connecticut and threatens its accreditation in the long run.

The proposed budget cuts would destroy graduate programs and high-level research and scholarship in nearly all departments in the university and eventually its well-known sports programs. That in turn will have a direct impact on students of all levels. Last year, West Virginia imposed devastating cuts on its flagship public university. We now risk following them in a disastrous race to the bottom, jeopardizing UConn’s national and international reputation and risking its immanent inclusion into the list of AAU prestigious public and private research universities,

When we accepted endowed positions and distinguished professorships at UConn, we hardly imagined this dystopian future for our university. The losses any individual unit may accrue, however, pale before these self-inflicted wounds to the university and its academic standing. It undermines the land grant mission of the university, an obligation going back to the post-Civil War era, to serve the ordinary citizens of the state, who would not otherwise enjoy access to top quality higher education. And it undermines our ability to continue to provide research which has ethical value and economic impact.

A tragic dismantling of the University of Connecticut’s academic reputation would needlessly undermine our recent achievements. As is well known, UConn has trained more than half the state’s engineers and most of its professionals whether they be educators, lawyers, doctors, dentists, nurses, public health professionals, entrepreneurs, to name just a few. Successful UConn graduates are critical to all sectors of the state’s economy. Reduction in future talent supply may cause businesses to start looking elsewhere for talent, or lead them to simply uproot and move away. Yet the state expects UConn to accelerate growth of its educational programs in manufacturing, biotechnology, health, and big data analytics to support the explosive needs of these industries for skilled workers. An investment in the University of Connecticut is an investment in the state and in the people of Connecticut, and it is one that yields the highest rewards, far beyond the economic multiplier effect that is evident from the previous statements and the undisputed role of the flagship research university in generating jobs and investments in the state.

The federal government has recently awarded a large grant for a Quantum Computer project to UConn and Yale University in partnership. Note that UConn is an equal partner, and our research chops are no less than that of Yale even though we operate with significantly fewer resources. The federal government recognizes the research excellence at UConn, and we strongly urge our state government to continue to do the same. Unlike Massachusetts, which has several Research-1 universities, the state of Connecticut has only two: a private tax-exempt, well-endowed institution, Yale, that serves a tiny minority and UConn that, by contrast, serves most of the people of Connecticut and provides a significant avenue of social mobility for its citizens.

As leading faculty members at the University of Connecticut, we are appalled at this dangerous undermining of the state’s educational crown-jewel – its flagship university. And in good faith, we want the university’s administration and the state government to be aware of the irreversible consequences of the projected budget cuts on the university’s viability as a premier research institution, currently ranked number 9 among public universities by The Wall Street Journal. These dire consequences compel us to implore the state’s political leadership to look before they leap into the abyss.

Sincerely,

Manisha Sinha, James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History Michael Lynch, Provost Professor of the Humanities and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

Frank Costigliola, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History Sergio Luzzatto, Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair in Modern Italian History

Gregory J. Anderson, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, and Distinguished Alumni Professor

Regina Barreca, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English Literature

Mark A. Boyer, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Geography Richard Brown, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus Brenda Brueggemann, Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing

Ming-Hui Chen, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Statistics

Gary M. English, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Dramatic Arts Deborah Fein, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of Psychological Sciences, Department of Pediatrics

Johann Peter Gogarten, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology

Miguel Gomes, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Spanish Studies

Lewis R. Gordon, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Global Affairs and Department Head of Philosophy

Shareen Hertel, Wiktor Osiatyński Chair of Human Rights and Professor of Political Science

Patrick Colm Hogan, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Blair T. Johnson, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences Diane Lillo-Martin, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Department Head

Leslie M. Loew, UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Boehringer Ingelheim Chair in Cell Sciences, Professor of Cell Biology, R. D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Rachel O’Neill, UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, John and Donna Krenicki Professor in Genomics and Personalized Healthcare

Katharina von Hammerstein, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of German Studies, Emerita

Richard A. Wilson, Gladstein Chair of Human Rights and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Law and Anthropology

Marie Smith, Henry A. Palmer Professor of Community Pharmacy Practice

Ki H. Chon, Donna and John Krenicki Chair Professor Biomedical Engineering Matthew Singer, Alan R. Bennett Honors Professor of Political Science Karolina Heyduk, Rosalind Chair of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Mark Urban, Arden Chair of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Emmanouil Anagnostou, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Eversource Energy Endowed Chair of Environmental Engineering

Chih-Jen Sung, Connecticut Clean Energy Fund Professor in Sustainable Energy Nancy A. Naples, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Avinoam Patt, Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies

Douglas J. Casa, UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Department of Kinesiology, CEO- Korey Stringer Institute

José E. Manautou, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Chair in Mechanistic Toxicology and Department Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Yaakov Bar-Shalom, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Marianne Klewin Professor in Engineering

Harry A. Frank, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Ali M. Bazzi, Charles H. Knapp Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Linda S. Pescatello, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology

C. Michael White, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy Practice James Waller, Christopher J. Dodd Chair in Human Rights Practice and Professor of Literatures, Cultures, Languages, and Human Rights

Diane J. Burgess, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pfizer Endowed Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology

Krishna R. Pattipati, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Collins Aerospace Chair Professor in Systems Engineering

Robert C. Bird, Professor of Business Law and Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics

Heather Elliott-Famularo, Donna Krenicki Professor of Design and Digital Media and Department Head of Digital Media & Design

Jiong Tang, Pratt & Whitney Professor of Advanced Materials and Processing Richard Sosis, James Barnett Professor of Humanistic Anthropology

Janine N. Caira, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus & Director of the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History