Clara (nevarren) wrote in randymac,

"department closings"...assholes

October 25, 2007

Dear College Community,

Last spring, as part of its on-going financial realignment, the
College announced that there would be staff and faculty
adjustments to position the College, relative to its enrollment,
more in line with other strong liberal arts colleges. Staff
reductions were implemented at the end of June after extensive
internal and comparative research. During the summer, the College
undertook a review of its academic programs and faculty positions
in light of its 8:1 student-faculty ratio. As part of this
process and in accordance with the Faculty Handbook, the Faculty
Representative Committee also reviewed each of the College's
academic areas.

In late July 2007, voluntary retirement options were offered to
faculty who met certain age and service thresholds. Six faculty
members, five of whom will retire at the end of 2007-08, chose
to accept the voluntary retirement option:

• Larry Bowden, Professor of Religion and Culture and former

• Pat DeMars, Reference Librarian (retired summer 2007)

• Jan Hullum, the William E. Thoresen and Catherine Ehrman
Thoresen '23 Professor of Sociology

• Pam Quaggiotto, Associate Professor of Anthropology

• Tom Stephens, the William E. Thoresen and Catherine Ehrman
Thoresen '23 Professor of Speech and Theatre

• Ivor Thomas, Professor of Religious Studies

These individuals are among the College's most senior academic
leaders, and we acknowledge and thank them for their service
and their important roles in the history of this institution.

This fall, the College began the hard task of identifying
additional faculty reductions guided by three principles:

• To eliminate departments with low current or projected
student participation, while giving appropriate attention
to preserving the College's broad liberal arts curriculum
with global emphasis.

• To increase the student/faculty ratio to more
sustainable levels over time by both increasing enrollment
and reducing the number of faculty, while giving
appropriate attention to the College's tenure process and
its future teaching strength.

• To help balance the College's revenues and expenses,
which are currently in deficit.

The College has made a careful effort to respect the overall
soundness of the liberal arts curriculum and to protect declared
majors. The Dean of the College's Office has scheduled individual
meetings with students impacted by the decisions. The College
believes it will be able to accommodate the needs of all
full-time students who have officially declared majors. In the
plan that follows, the student-faculty ratio is projected to
increase to 10:1 by fall 2009 based on the College's estimated
enrollment growth.

• At the end of 2007-08, the College plans to close the
German Studies, American Culture, and Anthropology
departments. The German Studies and American Culture
departments are among the College's smallest majors.
Anthropology does not offer an official major, although
students bringing coursework done elsewhere have been
allowed to fashion an independently designed major. We
will be studying the addition of gender studies and
culture courses to a reconfigured Sociology department.

• At the end of 2008-09, the College plans to close the
Russian Studies and Japanese departments. Russian Studies
is also among the College's smallest majors. Japanese,
which does not offer a major, and Chinese, which the
College also offers, compete for enrollment among students
wanting to take an Asian language. Given current
geopolitical realities, the College will move forward with
Chinese as its Asian language offering.

The American Culture Program will continue through the spring of
2009. This program is recognized as a powerful learning
experience for students and faculty alike, but cost and
recruitment have been persistent challenges. During the next two
years, the program will be carefully evaluated with a decision
made as to its future.

Students, faculty, and the educational experience are the heart
of this institution. We recognize that any reductions to
curricular components, directly or indirectly, affect the
experience as a whole, and that losses of faculty are
particularly hard.

The strength of this College's spirit and community has allowed
it to surmount a multitude of challenges throughout the
College's 116 year history. I came here, drawn especially by
that quality, and I hope it will provide the foundation for the
College's strong and successful future.


John E. Klein
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic