CCI devises new operating budget

Ryan Loew

The College of Communication and Information hosted the first of several university budget meetings yesterday afternoon, asking for more resources to “collaborate and transform” its programs.

In the series of meetings, deans will propose how to improve their colleges. Ultimately Provost Paul Gaston makes a recommendation to President Carol Cartwright on what to include in the university’s final budget proposal, which is given to the Board of Trustees.

Gaston said the purpose of the annual meetings, which will end tomorrow, is to “tell an impressive story of forward progress” among colleges and “clarify investments that need to be made.”

“Most of the deans are here,” Gaston said. “They learn from each other. It’s a way to lift the creativity of the academic sector overall.”

At the meeting, James Gaudino, dean of the College of Communication and Information, presented achievements in the college via video presentations to the crowd of about 100 administrators, faculty members and students.

Gaudino said he is asking for an additional $250,000 of continuing funds to be spent in increments.

“There’s way too much being asked for than there’s money to give,” Gaudino said. “Even if we don’t get it next year, we’ll continue working for those goals.”

Gaudino said CCI is also requesting an additional 10 full-time faculty positions.

The college, which consists of the schools of Communication Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Library and Information Science and Visual Communication Design, was formed with no operating budget, Gaudino said.

All four schools have operating deficits, and to make up for the financial shortage, the college has been hiring part-time faculty.

The university would give money to the college at the end of the year to supplement the financial shortfall, Gaudino said.

“We have virtually no budget,” he said. “The reason we need more faculty is so we can continue to expand the curriculum.”

Gaudino also spoke of expanding the curriculum with the restoration of Franklin Hall, the future home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The collaborative move is slated for the 2007 academic year.

The rehabilitated building will unite the print and broadcast programs, now divided between Taylor Hall and the Music and Speech Building.

“The basic design of Franklin Hall does center around collaboration,” Gaudino said. “We’re going to throw all the students in there together.”

Gaudino further described the transformation of the college through the CCI Commons, which will start housing students from the four schools in Verder Hall, with plans to expand to Prentice and Dunbar halls.

“The goal of CCI Commons is to bring together the classroom learning environment and the student learning environment,” Gaudino said. “So when you leave the classroom, then you’ll go back to a learning environment that will have the kinds of tools we give in class.”

The commons will offer students opportunities to meet with academic advisers and professors in the residence hall and a 24/7 computer lab and studio space, among other advantages, Gaudino said.

He estimated about 100 students will be living in the CCI Commons this coming year, but said eventually the number of residents will grow to at least 500.

Funding the living/learning space will cost about $70,000, he said.

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].