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.