Wittenberg University plans to cut faculty positions for the 2020-2021 academic year in a “series of difficult decisions” the administration says are being made as they look at enrollment trends and future finances.
Eight instructors were notified by the university that their teaching appointments would not be renewed for the next academic year. Six of the instructors do not have tenure and two were in the process of becoming tenured, according to an email sent to Wittenberg students and faculty this week.
The university’s president Mike Frandsen said in the email that the decision is part of a plan to reevaluate staffing levels and programmatic offerings at Wittenberg in light of current and projected enrollment numbers and changing student demographics across the state and country.
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“They are valued members of this community, and this decision is in no way a reflection on them or their contributions to our campus,” Frandsen said in response to university’s decision to cut some faculty members for the next academic year.
Wittenberg officials say they plan to review or renegotiate institutional contracts, outsource select services, evaluate university assets, review employee benefits, possibly restructure athletic offerings and review academic offerings.
“There are growing realities that Wittenberg, like most institutions our size, face with regard to increasing challenges impacting higher education and the cost of delivering that education,” Frandsen said in the email sent Friday morning. “If we are to adapt and evolve as we continue to work for the success of our students, we must right-size our institution, streamline operations, and realign for future success.”
Wittenberg student Abbey Perkins said she and many of her fellow students are upset about the recent news and don’t understand why those instructors are being cut by the university.
“So many of those professors are important to us on an emotional level,” she said.
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As of Friday afternoon, the university did not release further information to the News-Sun on how many teaching positions in total would be cut or which departments would be affected.
Frandsen said in his message to the university’s students and faculty that “realignment of this nature brings with it the need to balance strategic investments with cost savings, which we are continuing to do while also ensuring a high-quality educational experience for our students.”
“This will be a challenging time for all of us at Wittenberg and across higher education. We cannot escape this fact, but we must face these challenges directly……,” he added.