Sunday February 15, 2009
Faculty proposes new sustainability plan
Trustees to decide between committee, faculty plans
By Audrey Secker
Trustees and faculty have recently submitted sustainability plans to balance the college’s $1.5 million deficit.
The committee for sustainability proposed a plan for sustainability to the Board of Trustees on Dec. 1, 2008.
The trustees will make changes in four categories - academics, academic programs, student revenue, and administration and co-curricular.
The changes proposed in the academics division would be the biggest loss to the college and to the students.
All majors must grow to numbers set by the trustees by 2011, but not all majors will be given the chance to grow in this plan.
Music and theatre majors would be eliminated and a new performing arts major would be added, cutting 2.5 of the current faculty leaving only two faculty.
Spanish as a major would be eliminated and a minor would be developed.
The philosophy and religion major would be eliminated and there would be only one full-time faculty for the new Christian service minor that would be created.
History as a major would be reduced and one full-time faculty would be eliminated, leaving the college with the inability to carry even a weak major in History.
Five areas of teaching licensure would also be cut with the proposed plan - English speakers of other languages Pre-K-6, ESOL 6-12, history 6-12, Spanish Pre-K-6, Spanish 6-12 and music Pre-K-6.
The main plan in the student revenue division is to increase tuition by 6 percent, $1,000 each year, increase student fees from $300 to $500 and to increase room by 5 percent each year.
In the administrative and co-curricular division, the current position of director of campus ministries would be eliminated. A new part-time director of services position would be created in place of the campus ministries. The position of half-time administrative support in advancement would also be eliminated.
The computer budget for the college would be cut by $20,000.
In this proposal sports, including tennis, cross country and track and field must grow their participants by 2010. If the program does not grow, the program's coach will be changed or the sport will be dropped.
The faculty chairs have been working on creating a counter plan for the committee to consider.
“The trustees and the President were both very serious in their request for faculty input and they are very interested in faculty input," said Laura Eells, provost and dean of the faculty. "If they had not wanted faculty input, they would not have asked for it.
Kim Stanley, professor of English and communication and writer of the faculty proposal, said, “I feel very strongly about the proposal. I was very impressed about how all the department chairs worked together on it.”
The immediate goals of the faculty plan were to find savings of $170,000 in the academic area, to find savings of $30,000 to maintain half-time clerical positions in the library and registrars office, to propose plans for creating revenue and to alter curriculum in order to boost the availability of the courses and to avoid the necessity of hiring new faculty as enrollment grows.
The faculty proposes to keep 3.5 positions in the proposed performing arts major, eliminating only two positions instead of the trustees' proposed 2.5 faculty.
The plan suggests that the Spanish major be kept because foreign language is an important part of liberal arts; also because Spanish is the second language of the United States and there is more of a demand for it in the work field.
The faculty proposes that philosophy/religion be kept as a major and that Christian service be incorporated into it and also be made a minor. The department would have one professor with no adjuncts as the trustees had proposed.
For history the faculty proposes that two full-time faculty are kept in order to maintain a history major because it, too, is a key element to a liberal arts education.
There are also proposals for all other departments to lower their budgets and save the college additional money.
The first thing the faculty does in its plan is request that students be able to finish a program if in fact it does get cut.
The faculty proposes to raise class sizes from 22 to 27, decrease the language intensive requirements from three hours to two, reduce the first-year seminar from three hours to two, make junior seminar optional and increase general education natural science offerings without a lab.
The faculty plan saves the same amount of money as the trustees' plan, while also saving some faculty and staff jobs.
“They could pick one plan or the other plan,” Eells said. “What I would expect we would end up with, though, is a plan that would reflect parts of the trustees' plan and parts of the faculty's plan.”
Eells said the faculty will submit its plan to the trustees for their March board meeting.
“The board will take action on the plan and once they make a decision, we will begin to implement that plan on campus,” Eells said.