The Montana Board of Regents is meeting in Bozeman this week, and one of the items under review is the plan set forth by the University of Montana to address budget cuts due to reduced enrollment.

Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRae told KGVO News on Thursday morning that the board had looked closely at the plan submitted by UM President Royce Engstrom, and approved of its purpose and content.

"The Commissioner of Higher Education (Clayton Christian) and the board were highly supportive of the plan," McRae said. "It's a plan whereby President Engstrom is asking the campus to be engaged in the discussion and he's asking for response and feedback. But, most importantly, it's a plan that is needed."

McRae said no one on the Board of Regents was surprised at the announcement on Tuesday in Missoula.

"When it comes to matching expenditures with revenue, workforce numbers need to match student enrollment numbers, that's the first piece of the approach," he said. "The second piece is reviewing the portfolio of academic offerings, applying scrutiny to our present offerings to ensure that they are still viable, relevant, desired and effective for Montana students, families and employers."

McRae said that all groups on campus must pull together to get through a difficult time.

"It's very important that at the University of Montana, all the stakeholders, faculty senates and staff senates, faculty labor organizations will all be welcome at the table, so long as the focus is on meeting the demands and being up to the task."

At Tuesday's meeting, Engstrom announced cuts in both faculty and support staff. Engstrom said the university must adjust the number of faculty to 606 and non-faculty to 849. This will require reductions equivalent to 52 full-time faculty and 149 full-time non-faculty.

The Board of Regents meeting continues in Bozeman.