Pitt assessing viability of Titusville campus

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The University of Pittsburgh said today that effective immediately,the school's branch campus at Titusville will be placed under the direction of Pitt's Bradford campus in a realignment of administrative functions on both campuses necessitated by deep state funding cuts.

In a statement, Pitt Provost Patricia Beeson said the realignment "is a first step to reduce costs of operation and assess the viability of the Titusville campus in a time of dramatically reduced state support."

Both campuses will report to Livingston Alexander, Bradford's president, who under the shift also becomes the president of Titusville. David Fitz, now vice president for academic affairs at Titusville, will become interim dean of that campus responsible for day-to-day operations and reporting to Mr. Alexander.

William Shields, Titusville president since 2005, will become an associate Pitt vice provost.

Various administrative functions for both campuses will be centralized on the Bradford campus, Pitt officials said. They did not offer a dollar estimate of projected savings or say if job eliminations are planned.

Pitt Titusville, founded in 1963, is a comprehensive two-year campus with 500 students. Bradford, founded the same year, is a four-year campus serving 1,600 students.

The statement from Pitt detailed sizable state funding cuts in recent years that have dropped Pitt's state support, in absolute dollars, to 1980s levels.

This year, those reductions amounted to about $67 million, including a 19 percent reduction to the University's general appropriation and a 50 percent cut to its academic medical center appropriations at the July 1, 2011, the start of this fiscal year, Pitt officials said.

In the fall, Pitt was told that its capital projects support also would be slashed by 50 percent, or $20 million, and in January the school was ordered to designate another 5 percent, or $7 million, into "budgetary reserve," the equivalent of a midyear budget cut, Pitt's statement said.

The budget proposed for the next fiscal year would further reduce Pitt's general appropriation by an additional 30 percent and its academic medical center appropriations by an additional 10 percent.

"We did not make these decisions lightly," Ms. Beeson said in her statement. "As the result of unprecedented cuts from our Commonwealth appropriation this year and a proposal for further cuts in the coming year, we have been forced to examine areas of previous commitment, including our historic commitment to bring education to various regions and populations of Western Pennsylvania.

"We hope that by combining key administrative functions of these two regional campuses, we will be better positioned to continue providing educational opportunities in Titusville." education - breaking

Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com


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