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Executive Summary

PSA/CAFLS budget reduction/restructuring plans

To help manage state funding cuts and prepare for the future, Clemson’s Public Service Activities (PSA) division is implementing a budget reduction and restructuring plan over the next two years (2010-2012). The goal is not just to cut the budget; it’s to ensure that Clemson has a viable PSA organization with the capacity to fulfill Clemson’s land-grant mission and serve the state’s No. 1 economic sector — agriculture and natural resources.

PSA funding in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS) will be reduced by $5 million over two years. The University is implementing an academic restructuring plan to manage these cuts and facilitate the college’s strategic planning.  

The first step was to downsize by offering two voluntary severance programs to eligible faculty and staff. Those programs yielded substantial savings — though not enough to avoid further cost reductions. But they also created staffing voids in critical service areas. The restructuring plan will help fill these voids and further reduce costs.


  • PSA’s state appropriation was reduced by $6.6 million on July 1, 2010, bringing its total state funding cut since June 30, 2008, to $24.3 million — a 46 percent reduction. This year’s budget cut was partially offset with one-time federal stimulus funds.
  • The latest budget cut leaves PSA with $28.2 million in state funding — the same dollar amount as 1985, without adjusting for inflation.
  • As a separately funded state agency dedicated to public service and research, PSA receives no revenue from tuition.
  • Like the rest of the University, PSA and CAFLS are engaged in long-term strategic planning to prepare for the future, with an accelerated timetable because of the severe PSA budget cuts.

Guiding principles and desired outcomes

  • PSA will focus its remaining state dollars on the core mission of agriculture and natural resources research, Extension and regulatory programs.
  • PSA budget reductions will exceed state budget cuts in order to create resources that can be invested in core agricultural research and Extension personnel and programs in priority areas.
  • Academic restructuring should aim to increase faculty collaboration and create opportunities for new courses, concentrations and majors that are relevant and attractive to students.
  • PSA will align its focus areas with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) programs in order to be competitive for federal grants.
  • CAFLS will align its focus areas with national initiatives for NIFA, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency and defined areas for 21st Century Biology according to the National Research Council.
  • Every effort will be made to downsize through attrition and voluntary incentive programs and to be sensitive to people who are being impacted by changes. Layoffs will be a last resort.
  • Every effort will be made to keep all county offices and all Research and Education Centers open.

Key points in PSA budget reduction/restructuring plan

  • At this time, no county Extension offices or Research and Education Centers will be closed.
  • With the number of support staff in counties and at Research Education Centers decreasing from 64 to 36 positions, secretarial and fiscal support for county offices will be handled through regional business centers and regional service centers that will provide services for multiple counties. Existing support staff members will have first priority for business/service center jobs, although they may be required to relocate or take on new duties. 
  • In order to manage farms and equipment, administer off-campus sites and maintain critical research and Extension positions tied to agriculture and natural resources, PSA will invest in a limited number of strategic rehires, which will require “divestment” in other areas. PSA will continue to downsize its animal farms to the levels needed to support existing research and teaching programs, close its aquaculture facility when grant funding expires, and reduce or eliminate a number of temporary positions.
  • PSA-managed institutes (Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development, Institute for Family and Neighborhood Life, Strom Thurmond Institute, Institute for Nutraceutical Research, Clemson University Genomics Institute, Youth Learning Institute) will be allocated PSA state funding only for agriculture and natural resource programs and will have to rely on alternate funding for other programs. 
  • PSA administrative personnel and costs will be reduced.
  • The South Carolina Botanical Garden, Radio Productions, Video Production Services and PSA Publishing will be downsized and will have to rely much more on generated revenue for their future sustainability.

CAFLS Reorganization 

To help manage PSA funding cuts to CAFLS and support the college’s strategic planning, an institutional reorganization is being implemented that will reassign some faculty members to other colleges, realign departments within the college, and streamline and refocus educational offerings into relevant and high-demand majors to accommodate sustainable academic degree programs. The plan targets an undergraduate enrollment of 3,000 in fewer degree programs.

Key points of academic budget reduction/restructuring plan

  • CAFLS will have four areas of focus: Food & Packaging Systems, Environment, Sustainable Agriculture, and Human & Veterinary Biomedical Sciences.
  • The organizational structure will be four departments and one school. Names reflect the focus of the new units and are subject to faculty input and administrative approval.
    • Department — Animal and Veterinary Sciences: Faculty and staff from the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
    • DepartmentBiological Sciences: Faculty and staff from the Biological Sciences Department.
    • SchoolEnvironment and Sustainable Agriculture: Faculty and staff from Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences; Environmental Horticulture; Forestry and Natural Resources; and faculty delivering Biosystems Engineering, Agricultural Education and Agricultural Mechanization degree programs
    • DepartmentFood and Packaging Systems: Faculty and staff from Packaging Science and Food Science and Human Nutrition Departments
    • Department Genetics and Biochemistry: Faculty and staff from Genetics and Biochemistry
    • Agricultural Mechanization and Business will be incorporated into the School of Environment and Sustainable Agriculture as a concentration
  • The following centers and institutes will continue to move to financial self-sufficiency:  ACREC, CIET, CUBI, CU Genomics Institute, CUVI, DNA Learning, Sonoco.
  • Some CAFLS faculty members will shift from PSA to teaching and research responsibilities in other colleges:
    • Eight tenured and tenure-track faculty and lecturers in Experimental Statistics will join the Department of Mathematical Sciences (College of Engineering and Science).
    • Eleven tenured and tenure-track faculty in Applied Economics will join the Walker Department of Economics (College of Business and Behavioral Science).
    • Six on-campus teaching faculty in the Biosystems Engineering Department will join with the Environmental Engineering and Earth Science faculty (College of Engineering and Science).
  • CAFLS will have a strong biological base of expertise across all remaining departments, allowing for cross-curricular teaching and collaboration.
  • Class size in high enrollment courses such as biology and biochemistry should be reduced as a result of moving faculty from PSA to E&G responsibilities.