Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Edinboro Set to Trim Faculty, Undercut Programs University Tackling $5.5 Million Deficit

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Edinboro Set to Trim Faculty, Undercut Programs University Tackling $5.5 Million Deficit

Article excerpt

Many Edinboro University professors and staff already were home Tuesday evening and checking their inboxes remotely when ominous messages started arriving, not long after a meeting of school trustees had adjourned.

"It was literally, open up your email after dinner and see your department is going to lose some faculty, and maybe you," Jean Jones, a professor and president of the campus faculty union, said Wednesday in describing reactions of her colleagues. "We're really reeling from this."

Edinboro has become the second state-owned university in Pennsylvania to say it has too many professors and other employees but not enough students. It unveiled a plan to cut more than 50 workers universitywide, including 42 faculty positions.

In addition, the university that has lost nearly one-fifth of its students since 2010 recommends that an enrollment moratorium be imposed on Bachelor of Arts programs in music, music education, German, philosophy and world languages and cultures, officials confirmed.

Students already enrolled in those majors would continue to be taught, but no new students would be accepted, Edinboro spokesman Jeffrey Hileman said. It is expected that those programs eventually would be eliminated, he added.

The Operations and Workforce Plan that Edinboro president Julie Wollman shared electronically with the campus is intended to help the school confront a $5.5 million deficit in its budget of $95 million for 2013-14.

Edinboro, like most of the State System of Higher Education's 14 member universities, has been dealing with the triple effect of a sluggish economy, enrollment losses tied to a decline in high school graduate numbers, and a state appropriation that is 18 percent smaller than a few years ago.

Edinboro, in northwestern Pennsylvania, has been particularly hard hit. The university says it has lost 18 percent of its enrollment since 2010, including a projected 4.5 percent decline this fall to 7,098 students.

Ms. Wollman said faculty levels have not been adjusted to reflect the loss of 1,545 students during those years.

"We have too many faculty based on our enrollment," she said. "It's not sustainable."

Her plan says the university has a 16.5 to 1 student-faculty ratio. "Our budget model indicates that it must be just above 20 to break even," the four-page document released by the university says.

Programs in areas of expected growth may receive additional resources, among them animation and digital arts, criminal justice and information technology, the plan states.

Edinboro's chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties had expected to be briefed on details of the university's plan at a meeting scheduled with administrators Friday.

Ms. Jones acknowledged the financial pressures facing her university. …

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