Queen sacrifice in Kentucky

Georgetown CollegeAnother American campus determined to make a queen sacrifice.  This time it’s Georgetown College of Georgetown, Kentucky.  The decision includes closing certain programs and laying off their faculty:

Georgetown College will cut about 20 percent of its faculty… ending majors in French, German, computer science and music by May 2015.

[T]he faculty could be cut by 20 positions, although some already are vacant. About 12 staff positions will be lost..

Georgetown may expand some other departments: “Two relatively new programs that have attracted more student interest are criminal justice and sports administration”.

In addition the institution will make other, related cuts:

employee and retiree benefits will be slashed. For current employees, the school’s matching contribution for retirement accounts will be reduced temporarily. For retired faculty, the school will cut health benefits, a move that could save about $500,000 a year, spokesman Jim Allison said.

What is the reason behind these moves?

The [operating budget] deficit has continued for several years, but it worsened last fall when enrollment dropped by 100 students, creating a shortfall in tuition revenue at the private school. Total enrollment is about 1,100 students.

Much of this is sadly familiar from the past year of campus queen sacrifices.  The preponderance of targeted departments are in the humanities (“we didn’t have a lot of majors in some of these areas”).  Enrollment decline drives a revenue crisis for a tuition-dependent institution (“”What Dr. Greene found soon after arriving is that expenditures for the college far outweighed income”).

No word from Slate as to whether this is an instance of a death spiral we should celebrate.

(photo via Wikipedia)

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3 Responses to Queen sacrifice in Kentucky

  1. Barbara says:

    At a nearby Pennsylvania state school, Edinboro University, the same thing is happening:

    “Edinboro University will cut 3 low enrollment academic programs, but add new course offerings in other areas.
    The Edinboro Council of Trustees today voted unanimously to eliminate majors in women’s studies, art history, and philosophy. About 2 dozen students currently majoring in those fields can continue until graduation. But no more students can enroll.
    At the same time, Edinboro is re-focusing to add more programs in computer science, biology and history.
    University Spokesman Jeff Hileman said, “We are focusing our attention on some areas, adding tracks to our existing programs in response to student interest and also the needs of the community.”
    Edinboro has been trying to cope with declining enrollment and decreasing state funding.”

    It seems to be hitting state schools as well as small private colleges and I fear for a future where the humanities is not valued, where that old ideal of the “well-rounded education” falls to the wayside as an obstacle to “jobs.”

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