Program consolidation, layoffs announced by UC Berkeley Extension

By Teresa Parker, UC Berkeley Extension

04 December 2002 | In response to the continuing weakness of the local economy and a projected budget deficit of $7.9 million, UC Berkeley Extension, the continuing-education arm of the university, is consolidating course offerings and cutting staff by the equivalent of 34 full-time positions, Dean James Sherwood announced this week.

Program cuts are targeted to underenrolled courses throughout the organization. Staff cuts, at all levels of the organization, are similarly targeted. Extension’s English Language Programs, now offered at two sites, will be consolidated, with the San Francisco Center program moving to Berkeley. Additional savings will come from marketing and promotions, facility rentals, and other administrative expenses.

“Our primary goal is to return UC Berkeley Extension to the vibrant state it once enjoyed,” says Sherwood. “In order to meet the needs of our students, we need to respond quickly to changing economic conditions and restore the organization’s financial health.” As a self-supporting organization that receives no university or state funding, UC Berkeley Extension must reduce the cost of its infrastructure in proportion to overall lower revenues.

During the economic boom of the 1990s, UC Berkeley Extension expanded rapidly to meet the increasing demand for continuing education. In fiscal year 1994-95, enrollments soared to more than 69,000. Following the decline in the technology sectors of the economy, enrollments began to drop in the summer of 2001 and decreased sharply with the deepening recession after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Enrollments for fiscal year 2002-03 are projected at 45,000. Several cost-saving measures were put in place in fall 2001, including a hiring freeze and restrictions on travel and capital expenditures.

“The measures we’re instituting today are key to restoring UC Berkeley Extension to financial well-being,” Sherwood says. “We’re creating a more efficient, flexible organization that will be better prepared to serve students’ continuing-education needs into the future.”

All non-probationary career employees who have been laid off will receive 60 days’ notice. In addition, they will be eligible for several services from the university to help ease their transition. These include:

• special services from the university’s Human Resources office, including counseling and workshops on employment and benefits,

• access to campus office space, computers, and e-mail for an extended period, and

• free Extension courses for two years beyond the date of separation.


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