The Anderson University Board of Trustees recently approved a series of management recommendations resulting from a process of program review and prioritization. Plans called for faculty and staff reductions, reorganization of selected departments and programs, and reallocations of resources for targeted personnel and programmatic enhancements. The announcement of pending implementation of these recommendations has generated a number of questions. Below are some of the most common and recurring questions with answers.
Why did Anderson University undergo a prioritization process?
The world is a much different place since the recession of 2008. In the past few years, families are questioning the return on investment in higher education and the value of a liberal arts degree. The Board agreed that the time has come for Anderson University to take major steps toward responding to current challenges facing higher education. Anderson University must position itself for a future that generates resources for programs and personnel and the financial margins necessary to explore new opportunities. While the unexpected decrease in enrollment this year certainly added to the urgency of taking bold action, these steps would have been necessary under any circumstances to better align the mission of Anderson University with strategic priorities.
What are the next steps in the prioritization process?
Over the course of the next several months, the university will begin implementing decisions that have been made, completing studies that are underway, and making additional adjustments in order to present a balanced budget to the Board in the spring.
Why was the timing of Nov 1. important?
The university practice has been to notify faculty by Nov. 1 if their contract will not be renewed. The university desired to provide ample time to persons to discover other opportunities. This was the earliest possible timeframe following the fall meeting of the Board.
Why was only $1.4 million out of $3.1 million addressed currently?
There are other areas that are currently under study where additional information is being gathered. The university required more time to complete and evaluate these studies.
When will future adjustments be announced?
The desire of the university is to reach these conclusions responsibly and as soon as possible. The university must present a balanced budget to the Board in the spring.
Can you distribute a list of persons who were affected by adjustments?
Anderson University will not distribute a list of names of persons that were affected. Anderson University is committed to the privacy of individuals and need to let them determine the public release of information they consider private.
What were the metrics by which Theatre, Philosophy and French were chosen?
All academic programs were evaluated in terms of number of majors, minors, graduates over a five year period, semester hours generated by the department, inter-relatedness with other programs of the university and faculty expertise (e.g. does the person hold the highest degree in the field in which they are teaching).
What were the metrics by which staff positions were chosen for reduction?
The university identified positions and places through the prioritization process where it could continue to provide an acceptable level service.
How many faculty and staff have been reduced since the last prioritization process in 2007-08?
Including the adjustments recently made, the combination of reductions and additions has resulted in net reductions in both faculty and staff. Since 07-08, the university reduced 20 staff FTE (Full Time Equivalency). Since 07-08, the university reduced 14 faculty (FTE) positions.
What are other areas impacted by adjustments recently announced?
In addition to reductions of faculty and staff, reductions and adjustments have been identified in other programs and departments in the following areas: Center for Educational Technology, Wellness, Alumni and Church Relations, The School of Music, Theatre and Dance, Nicholson Library, TIP (Teach in Indiana Program), Health Services, School of Theology, the Falls School of Business, and Kinesiology.
How can you teach Musical Theatre without Theatre?
Included in the Musical Theatre major are acting courses, voice and movement courses, and stage diction courses among others that are required. It is the university’s responsibility to provide a quality education for students. The institution will resource these courses with appropriately trained faculty to teach these courses.
What are the priorities of Anderson University moving forward? Anderson University will continue to engage an ongoing institutional effectiveness process informed by program reviews developed by faculty and staff to identify areas of strength and potential. While Anderson University continues to balance the budget, one way the institution is investing immediately is to encourage academic areas to innovate and apply for grant funds (not connected to the university’s operational budget) that support these new initiatives. The combination of academic rigor and practical application through campus programs results in exceptional graduates. They know how to connect theory and practice. They know how to engage life, work and community and make a positive impact. They are living examples of the university dedication to academic and Christian discovery.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.