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University Suffers From Paper Cuts

University Suffers From Paper CutsHumanities professor Debra Maukonen can no longer allow students to keep their tests as study tools because she has to collect them due to the recent cut in paper.
Samantha Dandridge, a freshman event management major, now takes tests on the projector for her English class.

These changes are part of an effort to cut back on office supplies because of decreased budgets.

The lack of office supplies “makes it more difficult for instructors to do their jobs,” Maukonen said. “In the larger picture, it’s more than paper — it’s people.”

She said a smaller budget means just what students are seeing now: reduced faculty, staff and services; reduced course offerings; reduced face-to-face classes and more online classes; larger class sizes; and an higher student-teacher ratio.

“I know we are saving trees and money by going paperless, but I am seeing a difference in teaching,” Maukonen said.

According to numbers from UCF News & Information, the school spent nearly $20,000 less on paper this year than last year, spending only $9,500. For the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the total spent on paper products was about $29,400. Desk supplies, such as staples, paper clips, and tape, totaled about $65,800 in the same period. That number was cut almost in half to $35,600 for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

Maukonen and other professors are dealing with the problem in different ways. She said she and her colleagues have increased their use of technology by creating curriculum Web sites and also sometimes pay for copies themselves.

She said the shift to technology may change consumer patterns and create new and sometimes better ways of teaching; however, technology support can also add up, she said.

Last year, office desk accessories, such as organizers and calculators, totaled around $164,500, and mailing supplies totaled about $34,000. This year, the totals dropped to about $83,800 and $11,900, respectively.

Print, copy and fax supplies had the biggest budget for the two years. Last year, they cost the university about $182,800. That number was nearly cut in half for this year to about $94,600.

Mathzza Belance, a history and legal studies major, said the budget cut in paper has really affected her classes. She said she also has to take tests on the projector for her history class and does not receive any printouts for her classes.

“It is such a disadvantage and not an effective way of taking a test because you have to wait for the class to finish before moving on to the next question,” Belance said.
The library’s budget has decreased as well, said Frank Allen, Associate Director for Administrative Services for the library.

He said in an e-mail that the library will spend about $37,000 on office supplies and specialized materials this year, down from $44,000 last year.

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