Yet another campus sacrifices the queen

College of Saint Rose logoThe College of Saint Rose (Albany, New York) announced (pdf) it would cut academic programs and faculty, in yet another example of what I’ve been calling a queen sacrifice.

That press release is actually quite informative.  On the Saint Rose chopping block are “23 faculty positions”, some of which are tenured, and which will end one year from now.   I estimate around 395 faculty teach at Saint Rose, based on enrollment figures and a 20:1 student-teacher ratio, meaning around 5.8% of professors are hit. The college’s faculty group issued a critical statement.

Twenty-seven programs will be ended.  They emphasize the humanities, of course, plus education, especially topical courses.  There’s also a smattering of science and business. (Full list at end of this post)

Staff have already been hit: “The College already has eliminated 40 staff and administrative positions and reduced employee benefits, borrowing costs, and other expenses.”

The causes are the very familiar pair of low enrollment and declining revenues.

Judy Calogero, ’80, Chair of the Saint Rose Board of Trustees [said] “Saint Rose has suffered a 16 percent decline in enrollment since 2008, mainly concentrated in the programs to be discontinued and the departments to be reduced.

Saint Rose is also boosting some programs, ones which students are signing up for.  According to chair Calogero, “large numbers of students have flocked to academic programs such as computer science, psychology, criminal justice and music industry.”  Not the humanities.

Overall, Saint Rose’s leadership describes this as “a comprehensive plan to reprioritize academic programs to meet the changing needs of students, increase enrollment, and secure the College’s financial future.”  That “reprioritize” term is key.  It’s a shifting of dwindling resources, away from low demand classes and majors.  A dozen of those to-be-closed programs have no students.

Let me close with a few thoughts.  This is a private, religious, and relatively small school.  Smaller institutions seem to be getting hit hardest, perhaps because they can’t realize efficiencies of scale.  Their administration has a greater degree of strategic flexibility than do public institutions.  Saint Rose is also in New York state, where the K-12 population continues to shrink.  I note the enrollment has declined since 2008, a period which includes the 2008-2012 recession upwards spike in enrollment.

Here’s the full list of shuttered programs:

American Studies BA
Art Education K-12 BFA, BS, MSED* and Advanced Certificate*
Communications MA*
English MA* and MFA*
Women’s and Gender Studies BA and Certificate
History/Political Science MA*
Music Education K-12 MSED* and Music Education Advanced Certificate*
Philosophy BA
Religious Studies BA
Spanish BA, Spanish Adolescence Education BA, International Spanish Undergraduate Certificate, Spanish Heritage Speakers Undergraduate Certificate
Studio Art MA*
Economics BS
Entrepreneurship BS
Not-for-profit Management Advanced Certificate*
Applied Technology Education BS
Educational Technology Specialist Initial MSED* and Professional MSED* Educational Computing Advanced Certificate*
Instructional Technology MSED* and Advanced Certificate*
Technology Education MSED* and Advanced Certificate*
Educational Psychology Program Evaluation Advanced Certificate* Business/Marketing Adolescence Education MSED* and Advanced Certificate*
Bioinformatics BS
Chemistry Adolescent Education BS Earth Science Adolescent Education BS Environmental Science BS
Geology BS
Sociology BA

This process has been under way since summer. In the words of Saint Rose’s president,

“It’s a challenging time in higher education and it’s not for the faint of heart,” [president] Stefanco said.

(thanks to John Theibault and Carrie Schroeder, both on Twitter)

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5 Responses to Yet another campus sacrifices the queen

  1. VanessaVaile says:

    I remember St Rose being an early NYS SEIU target. Organizing campaigns (and expenses incurred resisting) may be an extra stress on small private colleges.

    On the other hand, woe and conflict beset Northern NM College may be getting a reprieve or, if the damage has been too deep, a temporary stay. The president has been removed, replaced with an interim. A search is on.

    I’ll keep you updated on twitter.

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