Long Island campuses eyeing the queen sacrifice

The queen is down.A group of Long Island colleges and universities are considering academic program cuts, according to Newsday.  These are more examples of what I’ve been calling the queen sacrifice in higher education.

Downling College, Long Island University, St. Joseph’s College, Adelphi University, Hofstra University, Molloy College, New York Institute of Technology all face financial challenges familiar to anyone observing higher education: the specter of declining enrollment, driven in part by regional demographic decline; growing student and family resistance to escalating tuition prices; the poor labor market for graduates.

Many of these schools have already made non-academic-program cuts, like laying off staff, increasing employee medical plan contributions, suspending budget item increases, offering early retirement packages.  The economic pressures remain, so the next step is that curricular “Offerings must change”.

To begin with, they shift emphasis to some programs, or create new ones:

The private colleges’ leaders said they recognize that, in addition to cost-cutting, their institutions must keep pace with change, updating their programs and how they attract students. The financial challenges, cuts to federal student aid, and the creation of new benchmarks to gauge quality have private colleges retooling degree programs.

“retooling” means more STEM, as I’ve noted previously:

In answering the call of employers, state officials and President Barack Obama, the schools are undertaking a major and costly shift toward science and technology degrees…

Hofstra, known for its law, communications, education and social science programs, has repositioned itself over the last five years. The university is expanding its medical, engineering and health sciences schools…

LIU and NYIT have promoted degrees in growing fields such as genetic counseling and cybersecurity. Molloy College in Rockville Centre began offering a doctoral degree in nursing, expanding on one of its core disciplines, and a new MBA in health care.

Note the presidential politics.  This isn’t a Republican push to sap higher education.

Besides STEM, some institutions change programs to meet the labor market’s continuing emphasis on service jobs:

Recognizing Long Island’s tourism industry, St. Joseph’s College last fall began offering a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and hotel management, which will expand after the recent award of a $1 million state grant, officials said.

So where are the cuts, if this is a queen sacrifice story?  The Newsweek article doesn’t offer much, but does offer one item on reducing the humanities:

NYIT president Edward Guiliano said. “I can’t see myself cranking out PhDs in English for a job market that doesn’t exist.”

The reader can infer the rest.  If these campuses are increasing resource allocation to certain programs, and are facing tightening budget constraints, they’ll have to cut somewhere.  And there’s only so much to be saved from the cuts already made to staff.

(thanks to Natalie Anderson on Twitter; thanks to Judith Tabron for the original pointer; photo by Gideon Malias)

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3 Responses to Long Island campuses eyeing the queen sacrifice

  1. Cynthia Davidson says:

    They do realize that as soon as they start cutting their humanities programs, the STEM research universities will start picking up the slack there, don’t they?

  2. It depends, Cynthia. Many non-R1 campuses don’t see themselves in competition with research-1s. They have established models of competition, which are usually in or close to their educational sector.

    Now, why do you think the R1s will boost humanities programs?

  3. Dime Dozen says:

    Bottom line here is that I can tell you from experience that the Executives running these institution have officially sucked the life and money from the Universities. They are using a lot of these programs and staff cuts as an excuse for their own mismanagement. Most of these presidents at these Universities are making an average of a half of a million dollars. Its poor management all the way around and it is all at the expense of students and staff members. Higher Education has become more about capitalism and less about educating our future leaders.

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