Rider University cutting 13 majors, eliminating 14 professors
Facing a budget deficit and declining enrollment, Rider University president Gregory Dell'omo has announced cuts in staffing and majors for the Lawrenceville school.
Thirteen majors are targeted to be cut along with 20 positions, including 14 full-time faculty members.
"The decision to move forward with these closures and changes was not made lightly," wrote the university in a statement. "They have profound impacts on those who are directly affected by them. But they are needed to put Rider on a more progressive path and position the University more strongly in an increasingly competitive environment."
The university said a "declining pool of college-age students" is an issue that Rider is dealing with along with many smaller colleges. It will have to adapt in the future by focusing "on programs that have high student interest and demand and invest in new academic programs, more flexible delivery methods and campus facility improvements," according to the school.
The cuts are expected to save more that $2 million, according to the school, which faces a $7.6 million deficit.
The majors to be be eliminated include art and art history, advertising, American studies, business education, economics (BA), French, geosciences, German, Italian (minor), marine science, organizational leadership (graduate), philosophy, piano, and Web design.
The programs moving from majors to minors are: business economics, entrepreneurial studies and sociology.
In addition, business economics, entrepreneurial studies and sociology will only be available as minors.
Jeff Halpern, contract administrator and chief grievance officer for the faculty union American Association of University Professors, doesn't think the cuts are necessary.
"A major restructuring without any conversations with the faculty is simply formula for disaster," Halpern told the Times of Trenton.
The union's website includes a September letter to members stating that the school was concerned about enrollment not meeting expectations for the current academic year and discussions were underway.
Halpern told the Times of Trenton newspaper that those discussions included wage freezes and other contract concessions but an agreement was not reached. The union only found out about the cuts on Thursday morning.
"I can only say that our faculty is dispirited, morale is completely destroyed, and I don't see how that can be a positive thing," Halpern said.