The head of the University of Saskatchewan says an American made ranking tool will be used as the template for a cost-cutting exercise aimed at dealing with the school's $44.5 million funding shortfall.

According to a news release issued Friday afternoon, the U of S will use a "program prioritization" process, developed at the University of Northern Colorado.

The release said the template "is a proven process universities across North America have used for reallocating resources in tough times."

Ilene Busch-Vishniac, the president of the U of S, was quoted in the news release as saying the end result of the process will be cuts.

"Our primary motivation in introducing this new process is cost-cutting," she said. "This means that some valuable academic and support programs and administrative services will be lost through this initiative."

According to the release, the first step in the process will be establishing two committees to determine what the priorities of the university should be.

Once that is done, the university will examine academic and administrative programs "simultaneously and equally against [the] stated criteria," and decisions would be made to spend more, leave things alone or make cuts.


University of Saskatchewan president Ilene Busch-Vishniac says there are "no sacred cows" when it comes to making program cuts. (CBC)

The release said the ranking tool would be used to determine which programs have a "lower priority."

The two committees are expected to provide reports by Nov. 30, 2013.

That will be followed by an action plan with an implementation timetable.

According to the release, Busch-Vishniac was "confident undertaking this process will lead to transformative change."

The release noted that some of the cost savings would be spent on new initiatives for the university.

"[A] minimum of $5 million will be made available for new investments in the highest-ranking academic programs and administrative services," the release said.

Earlier in the week, Busch-Vishniac told CBC News there were "no sacred cows" at the institution when it came to programs that could face cuts.