LINFIELD WILL CUT SOME POSITIONS
By Starla Pointer
Jan 28, 2019
Jan 28, 2019
Linfield College confirmed Monday morning it will “eliminate some faculty positions” next year in an effort to balance the budget, affected by enrollment declines over the past few years.
President Miles Davis did not specify how many faculty members will be eliminated or from which areas or departments the cuts will come. However, he said the result will be more consistent with the actual enrollment of 1,240 students than with an enrollment of 1,600, on which current staffing is based.
Davis announced the expected cuts in a memo to the staff, faculty and other members of the Linfield community Monday morning.
He said the college is going through a process of “academic prioritization” to assess and allocate its resources. Every aspect of the school is being examined, he said.
“Decisions could not just be about reacting to our current circumstances, but also how we position the college for a sustainable future,” Davis said in his memo.
Reflecting a nationwide trend in college enrollment, Linfield’s student body has declined about 19 percent over the last five years. Tuition and fees make up 92 percent of the private college’s revenue, Davis said, so enrollment declines result directly in smaller budgets.
The shortfall this year reached $3 million.
Davis has spoken numerous times in recent months about the need to enroll more students. The college is implementing a variety of strategies toward this end, including increased recruiting, targeting first generation college students, offering more services for veterans and redoubling recruiting efforts aimed at transfers and non-traditional students.
In addition, he has discussed belt-tightening efforts started almost four years before he joined the college, which have included eliminating some administrative and non-faculty staff positions and freezing hiring; reducing retirement benefits and raises; reducing capital spending; cutting department budgets; and increasing tuition.
Last fall, the college offered early retirement packages to faculty members nearing retirement age. Recipients of the offers had until early January to decide.
Ten people accepted the early retirement offers, a college representative said Monday.
In his Monday memo, Davis said Provost Susan Agre-Kippenhan and Chief Financial Officer Mary Ann Rodriguez will continue working with faculty in deciding staffing changes.
He called for “an open, engaged, transparent process.”
“These are not easy decisions to make,” he wrote. “It will be difficult for both the Linfield community at large and for each person who will be directly affected.
“However,” he continued, “in the absence of academic prioritization, we cannot move forward as an institution.
Linfield College has limited financial resources and those resources must be allocated in a way that allows us to get through both our present challenges and position us for further growth.”