More colleges choosing the queen sacrifice gambit

Six more American colleges and universities are cutting academic departments and tenure-line faculty, according to Inside Higher Ed.  Last week I dubbed this “the queen sacrifice” option, because it represented institutions sacrificing from their core teaching and research mission.

The queen is down.What do these sacrifices look like?  Let me pull some examples from that article.

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Pennsylvania: “Holy Family University in Philadelphia cut 40 staff positions – about 7 percent of the staff – and, partially through retirements, reduced the number of full-time faculty to 81 from 100. The university is also shelving low-demand programs…”

In Kentucky, the “new president of the small Woodford County college, John Marsden, said… ‘After exhausting all other options, some faculty contracts will be eliminated from this fiscal year in order to balance the budget.

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‘ Spokeswoman Ellen Gregory said she was unsure of the exact number of affected faculty, but thought it would be around a dozen out of a total faculty of 54.”

In Indiana: “The private Christian university’s board of trustees recently approved a strategy that includes cutting 16 faculty and staff from the current ranks of 400, resulting in the reduction or combination of some programs.  Theater, philosophy and French will no longer be offered as majors. Art and communications will be combined under a department of visual and communications arts.”

Ohio: “cuts of 15 occupied and 14 unoccupied faculty positions” to Wittenberg University.

Michigan: Calvin College will cut faculty, but formally declined “to say how many faculty positions could be eliminated.

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”  Calvin’s student newspaper offers some thoughts:

The college’s student newspaper, Chimes, reported that the art history, theater, music specialties, fine arts, German, French, Japanese and Chinese programs are
candidates for “re-engineering,” reduction or elimination.

Chimes reported the plan calls for reducing “faculty from 291 members to between 270 and 275 members.”

Note that most of the programs and faculty are in the humanities.  And that some of these schools are adding new programs, not in those fields, but in areas like criminology.

Note, too, that staff (part of the unfortunately-used “administration” category) bear a greater brunt of the cuts.

The major driver for the cuts is reduced student numbers.  Enrollment means tuition, and that’s what these private institutions depend on.  The rising generation’s demographic crunch, which I’ve mentioned before, is starting to inflict pain.

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How many other schools will make similar sacrifices?

(photo by Gideon malias)

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7 Responses to More colleges choosing the queen sacrifice gambit

  1. pvanzand says:

    A disturbing trend for sure. I don’t know much about most of these schools, but are they all private? In your initial post on this, you discussed some (poor) options available to schools to avoid the sacrifice (an analogy I love, by the way). Two of these related to increasing state or federal funding, and as you say this is irrelevant to these schools. I guess this emphasizes your point that these particular cases are examples of tuition driven shortfalls. Are there other examples of queen sacrifices at public institutions besides Moorhead? Given the levels of state and federal funding, I’d think there will be many more of those examples coming in as well.

  2. Moorhead was just first in line. The MnScu system in Minnesota may be seeing more examples:
    Nortwest Technical College has just announced a “re-invention task force”. “It is anticipated that the task force will recommend changes to the colleges program offerings and personnel levels, although specific details will not be available until the task force delivers its recommendations to the president this spring.” I expect we will see many such headlines in the spring.
    The University of Minnesota Duluth is also undergoing program revisions and consolidations.

  3. Sheila says:

    Add the University of Texas to your list, who just cut several majors from their studio program (metals and ceramics) and decided to purchase a 3-D printer instead. See

  4. Pingback: Geo Political Sacrifice - Red Pill Views

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