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Administration plans to reduce faculty positions

Twenty to 25 positions cut from 2015–16 to 2021–22

Chris Brindle, Junior News Editor

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Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole informed the faculty on April 20 that the administration is planning on eliminating 20-25 faculty positions from the 2015–2016 school year by the 2021–2022 school year.

Cole first informed the faculty of the cuts in a report delivered at a faculty meeting on Oct. 27, 2016.

“Lower than anticipated enrollments in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, together with a projection to recruit somewhat smaller classes compared to years prior to 2014-2015, requires a reduction in staffing as part of a comprehensive reduction to the College operating budget,” Cole’s October report reads.

Allegheny had 184 full-time faculty in 2015–2016, so “the reductions in faculty staffing from 2015-2016 through 2017-2018 are being achieved by a combination of not renewing a portion of full-time visiting positions and by selectively filling open tenure-track or renewable non-tenure track positions,” according to the report.

A second motivation of reducing the number of faculty positions was to achieve a 12-to-1 faculty–student ratio, according to the minutes from the Oct. 27 meeting.

“Because of the lower enrollments over the past two years, in 2015-2016 we arrived at a student faculty ratio of 10.5,” Cole’s report from October reads. “Our current budget would not sustain a full-time faculty ratio of 11.0, but based on enrollment scenarios and projections for total faculty compensation, we could sustain a student to full-time faculty ratio closer to 12.0.”

In Cole’s report to the faculty on Thursday, April 20, he reiterated a similar point and also spoke about how vacant faculty positions will be filled.

“Open faculty positions not guaranteed to be filled and may not be filled within the same department or program,” Cole’s April report reads. “Staffing decisions will be informed by strategic planning on student-faculty ratio (size of College) and curricular needs.”

The faculty staffing summary included in his April report states that there were 170 full-time faculty in 2016–2017, there will be 168 full-time faculty for 2017–2018, and there is a projected 158–162 full-time faculty for the 2021–2022 academic year.

At the initial delivery of the report back in October, the faculty raised several concerns related to the future of staffing positions, and how the Strategic Planning Committee, who is “playing such a strong role in the decision making process,” needs to have a Faculty Council representation, according to the minutes.

A draft of a long-term process for making staffing positions has been reviewed by the Strategic Planning Committee and Faculty Council, and will be given to department chairs in May, according to the minutes.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Administration plans to reduce faculty positions”

  1. Al Coppolo '78 on April 21st, 2017 11:21 am

    Congratulations on achieving the participation target in yesterday’s Gator Give Day!

    A couple years ago I questioned the value of Gator Give Day. Well, after two years, I think I answered that question for myself yesterday. My recollection is that, historically, annual giving to Allegheny has been a very private thing. There was not much talk about it, it just seemed to happen behind the scenes. Yesterday for instance, there was very active conversation in our family and amongst some alumni about giving and giving levels. In the case of our family, I know this discussion yielded at least one new contributor and possibly two. Long-term, I think this active dialogue, and other activities that might contribute to it, is going to be a positive thing. It should also be accompanied by a more active and transparent conversation with alumni about the college’s challenges and outlook. The attached article is one example of the symptomatic outcome of challenges that alumni should be more aware of.

    Reshaping the faculty staff at Allegheny has to be be part of a regular and ongoing planning activity that is of no surprise to anyone. It’s the “tough-love” aspect of running a healthy organization. It includes a regular review of all aspects of operating resource levels. Most importantly, this process must include non-faculty resource levels. In fact, it is the non-faculty levels that should be scrutinized most closely.

    But, I am getting off course. I have finally figured out the value of Gator Giving days. Now I hope that just as we have brought annual giving out into the open conversation, we bring the discussion of financial health and strategic challenges onto the same platform. Both of these are important ingredients in getting more active engagement of truly committed alumni.

    Al Coppolo ’78

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Administration plans to reduce faculty positions