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School of Engineering message -- April 2004

NOTE: The following e-mail message was prepared by President Robert A. Corrigan to send to those concerned about reports that the School of Engineering is being considered for program discontinuance.

Dear Concerned Friend of SFSU:

You are among those who have responded to me about the news that our School of Engineering is being considered for discontinuation. That is correct, with the operative word being "considered." This news has raised strong and understandable levels of concern. It has also revealed some misconceptions and misinformation. Let me say at the outset that no decision has been made, much less implemented, about Engineering.

The discussion of Engineering is just one part of a process that is going on, openly, across the campus. In frank and extensive budget discussions, the provost and the college deans have explored the thorny and painful possibility of closing programs. At least a dozen programs in several colleges have been seriously mentioned. The provost has asked the deans to discuss these possibilities frankly and in detail with their faculty, and they are doing so. Decisions are not far off; we hope to present the Academic Affairs budget plan by the end of April.

Many of the messages I have received have been eloquent. They have spoken to the value of the program to students and to the greater community. Alumni have praised the encouragement and personal attention they have received from faculty and have expressed their satisfaction with their chosen career. Those of you from industry have spoken to the opportunity our program provides for a diverse group of students and to the need for well-prepared engineering professionals. I share your appreciation for the program, which makes even the consideration of this step all the more difficult.

Members of the campus community have received regular budget messages from me throughout the year that have sought to make very clear the monumental, multi-million dollar problems we have dealt with and must prepare to handle in 2004-05. In three years (2002/3, 2003/4, and 2004/05), we will have taken permanent, net cuts of at least $26.3 million –- this from an operating budget for the current year that totals just under $225 million. Even when the state rebounds, these funds will not return to our base budget.

With cuts of this magnitude, we have reached the stage at which across-the-board reductions are no longer possible. Such cuts would severely damage quality and our students’ academic experience. Only through deep, strategic cuts can we shape a future in which San Francisco State University can maintain excellence and access for the overwhelming majority of our programs that will remain intact.

We face agonizingly difficult decisions and we are trying to address them as a community, proceeding openly, with full disclosure and deliberation. Again, I want to remind you that no decision has been made to cut any program, Engineering included. As we move forward, I ask for your understanding and your patience as we struggle to make the most appropriate choices for the University as a whole.

-- Robert A. Corrigan, president

Robert A. Corrigan President


San Francisco State University

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Last modified July 27, 2004 by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications