President Donald Trump has submitted his first budget to Congress, an event many have been waiting for anxiously. Candidate Trump, during the presidential campaign last fall, spoke frequently about reducing the size of the federal government and “draining the swamp” of Washington, so this budget was among his first emphatic statements in support of those pledges.
There is a lot to discuss about this FY18 budget, including the fact that virtually every Cabinet and other agency included in the budget – with the exception of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs – is seeing a decrease in funding from FY17 levels ranging from 1 percent (NASA) to 31 percent (EPA). There are my details still missing, however, as this is known as a “skinny budget,” typical of that submitted by first-term presidents who do not have much time to put the budget together. My particular and admittedly selfish interest is how this budget is likely to affect the nation’s roughly 4,600 degree-granting institutions of higher education. Here’s the spoiler, for those who don’t want to bother reading this entire post: The news is not good.
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Welcome to the relaunch of my blog, which I first started in my previous position as Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University. I have brought over some of my favorite posts from there, and in the coming weeks I will begin adding more from my experience as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of San Francisco.
Since joining the university on January 25, it’s been a whirlwind semester which just wrapped up the week before last with the commencement ceremonies for our four schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. The semester flew by as I did my best to learn about all of our academic programs, got out to meet people across campus, visit each of our five branch campuses in the bay area and in Southern California, and experience the many cultural, athletic, and spiritual events at USF.
As I’ve been meeting people across campus, I am often asked, “How are you doing juggling the many things you have to do as provost?” I generally respond by saying that juggling is perhaps not the best metaphor for my job. Instead, or at least if they are old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan show, I suggest that a better metaphor is Erich Benn, the plate spinner who often appeared on that show (you can watch a video of him).
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