Another university sacrifices the queen, plus some other pieces

Deadly chess queenAnother American campus decided to perform a queen sacrifice.  Iowa Wesleyan College announced drastic cuts and layoffs:

it will eliminate 22 of its 52 faculty positions; it has cut 23 staff members and 16 of its 31 academic programs…
After the faculty layoffs take effect at the end of the year, there will be no math professor on staff.

As with previous instances of the queen sacrifice, the terminated faculty and programs seem to cover a relatively small number of students:

[College President Steven] Titus said the relatively small number of students affected by the cuts shows why they were made: only 52 students were enrolled in the 16 programs that were cut. So, that half of the college’s majors enrolled only 5 percent of the college’s students.

Note, too, the emphasis on the humanities, as programs facing the ax include “math, history, music, secondary education and English”.

See also the attack on a liberal education, especially as core curriculum:

Kent John Chabotar, the president of Guilford College in North Carolina, said colleges attempting what Iowa Wesleyan is doing can find success if they focus on majors that enroll more students and do a good job of selling those programs.
“The only way you have a regional reach is to have majors that have regional reach,” he said. “You’re not going to do that with a classic curriculum.”

When I’ve noted other institutions doing queen sacrifices, those cases typically saw smaller cuts than IWC’s.  This College is dropping more than the one piece.

(thanks to Glenn Everett for the link, and Louise Docker for the photo)

Liked it? Take a second to support Bryan Alexander on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
This entry was posted in future of education, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Another university sacrifices the queen, plus some other pieces

  1. Rolin Moe says:

    Interesting. I did notice that education was one of the places they cut…this is not novel; when Centenary made its queen sacrifice several years ago, they removed their undergraduate education program, replacing it with a hybrid BA/BS & M.A.T five-year program, noting that students would receive a Bachelors in something substantive and then the Masters.

    I wonder if these are just two examples where there were not strong edu programs, or if there is a change happening in how we look at teacher education. Certification has long been an extension of a B.A., but traditional BA degrees in education focused on primary or secondary methods and psychology in conjunction with content and curriculum. Do we as a society no longer view this as necessary, in a world of three-week Teach for America or KIPP training? Is education fully becoming a trade career similar to journalism, so the Masters is the introduction of scholarship and practical application after the Bachelors of exploration and content?

    • Good question, Rolin, especially as demand remains for K-12 teachers.
      Now, many such queen-sacrificing schools cite low student numbers in these programs. Why did their education departments fail to win enough students?

      • Rolin Moe says:

        Centenary also cut its education department back to just a MAT program, no longer offering a Bachelor’s. Is the further requirement of a certification on top of a Bachelor’s part of what pushes students away, and is that a reason a three-week cert program such as TFA enjoys such gains (and mainstream accolades)?

      • Could be, Rolin. Combine that with fears of big public K-12 bureaucracies.

  2. Glenn Everett says:

    I note that the cuts–22 of 52 faculty positions, more than half the academic programs (16 of 31)–will supposedly save $3 million out of the $20 million budget.

    Maybe they need that math prof after all.

  3. That disproportion surprised me as well, Glenn.
    I wonder about the details. How far along their careers were the cut profs, for example? Junior faculty are cheaper than seniors.
    How much more do the STEM programs cost than the humanities?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *