Concordia College attempts a queen sacrifice

Concordia College sealConcordia College, a midwestern liberal arts institution, is the latest American campus to announce a queen sacrifice.  The college is apparently going to cut a series of academic programs, and reduce some faculty numbers along the way.

What’s on the chopping block?  The humanities, mostly, typically:

classical studies, classics, Latin, Latin education, French, French education, German, health, humanities and the Scandinavian studies concentration. Health education, physical education and exercise science will still be offered.

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Enrollment in those programs is the immediate reason for the cuts.  According to Concordia’s announcement they enroll 38 students (only 26 after some leave in May), which is a very, very small number out of the 2,531 undergraduate student body (according to Wikipedia).

What happens to the faculty teaching, researching, and conducting service in those fields?

The cuts could also mean a loss of jobs for instructors in those majors by the end of May though tenured professors will have a year’s notice, university President William Craft said earlier this week.

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The university was also offering an incentive for faculty members age 55 and older to retire early.

Beyond the problems embodied in the low numbers for these programs, Concordia is facing an ongoing, general enrollment decline. For a tuition-dependent institution this means financial pressures.  The school has already cut people in response: “[i]n April, it cut 5 percent of its workforce, the equivalent of 31 full-time employees.”  As the official announcement explains,

In the current budget formation process, the college has identified a $2.7 million target in cost savings and new revenue generation.

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Metrics such as student/faculty ratio and average class size indicate a need to adjust staffing to current enrollment levels.

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To sum up, this looks like a classic queen sacrifice.  Enrollment problems lead to cuts to less well subscribed departments, meaning reductions of staff and faculty, with an emphasis on the humanities.

Interestingly, Concordia’s president was just reappointed by the board.

(thanks to Carrie Schroeder on Twitter and other friends on Facebook)

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6 Responses to Concordia College attempts a queen sacrifice

  1. geekymom says:

    Don’t know if my comment went through. Long story short. What else is a college to do under these circumstances?

  2. Jens says:

    Under these circumstances: exactly this. Under the circumstances that existed five years ago when it could have been avoided: quite a bit.

    I’m actually an alumnus of Concordia and wrote about the institution’s apparent decision-making.

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