In order to address budget shortfalls, one area university is making adjustments to faculty and modifications to some degree programs.
East Stroudsburg University officials announced plans Wednesday to restructure certain academic and non-academic departments to address the university's projected $6.9 million shortfall for the 2014-2015 academic year. Officials are permanently closing the department of movement activities and lifetime fitness, a non-degree offering department. Some degrees and minors will be suspended including BA in music, BA and BS in French and minors in music, French, and German.
Some departments will see reductions in faculty: chemistry, early childhood and elementary education, physical education teacher education, physics, and the non-academic department of counseling and psychological services. Majors will still continue to be offered in these academic departments.
These changes will result in the elimination of 15 tenured or tenure-track academic faculty positions. Eight of those faculty members were offered transfers to other positions within the university at the same pay rank they have currently. One of those people declined the transfer, so that person and five other faculty members were retrenched and will be laid off at the end of the academic year. In addition, two positions that will become vacant at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year will not be filled.
“We will do our utmost to minimize the impact of these changes on our students and their course of study. Students enrolled in programs within any of these departments will be able to fulfill their college experience here at ESU – the reduction of faculty positions will not affect their ability to matriculate. All students will have the opportunity to finish their degree programs at ESU," said ESU President Dr. Marcia Welsh. "We understand this is a very upsetting time for students and their families. However, it is our duty to address budget shortfalls so ESU can continue its mission to remain student focused and continuously improve the student learning experience in preparation for the job market,” she added. “Throughout this process, we have remained incredibly sensitive to the impact this will have on the families of some of our own; but it is a necessary step in order to keep our university a viable, competitive and first-rate academic institution."
During a news conference Wednesday, Welsh said, ""I am offended by people who think that what we're doing is easy for us. It has been incredibly difficult. We aren't doing it easily, we aren't taking it lightly. I've been called names I didn't even know were in the dictionary."