A queen sacrifice in New Hampshire

Another American campus has embarked on a queen sacrifice.  This time it’s Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, and the pattern is all too familiar.

Colby-Sawyer CollegeThe small college is laying off staff and faculty.  That means “seven faculty members and 11 staff members”.*  CSC is also “eliminating 19 open positions and changing 11 more employees’ hours”.  I estimate that’s about 6% of faculty facing the ax. 

Colby-Sawyer is also ending five majors: “English, philosophy, accounting, health promotion and health care management“.  Concerning English,

“I don’t think we’re going to be, unfortunately, known as the place for English majors, for example,” [Colby-Sawyer President Sue] Stuebner said.

What drives these cuts?  Reduced income, due to reduced enrollment: 

Colby-Sawyer’s enrollment peaked four years ago at about 1,500 students, and since has sunk to about 1,100, even as it retained the extra faculty and staff needed to support the greater enrollment.

Please note that Colby-Sawyer is in New Hampshire, a state seeing its K-12 population shrink.  The president explains the savings: “These combined faculty and staff reductions and restructuring total more than $2 million over the next three years…”

Why those majors?  Enrollment in them:

Kate Seamans, a spokeswoman for the college, said the elimination of the majors had come as a response to financial realities and had been based on student enrollment in each branch of study.

As for other steps, the president mentions some admin savings.  No word on cuts to CSC sports.

So what does this tell us?  The queen sacrifice strategy is still in play within American academia, especially for institutions suffering enrollment drops.  The humanities remain a target, along with some professional programs.

*Interesting language in the official announcement: “Seven faculty were notified of the college’s intent to separate.”

(thanks to Mark Ulett)

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