Sad, was on my D’s list, but will probably move way down, if it remains at all. Afraid of the smaller schools not being able to survive. If they do, what kind of further cutbacks will be coming? Lots of uncertainty.
The reality in attendance is that all heads are not created equal.
Unless a school has a deep list of students who want to attend (and who can afford the ever increasing prices), they are going to struggle to attract enough paying students to cover costs. If you lose 10% of your students but 20% of your revenue, keeping the student/faculty ratio is nearly impossible.
Too bad. We visited last year. Was on son’s radar for film school but didn’t make his final list. Kind of glad now.
When the pandemic started I said that colleges might need to break open the piggy bank and tap endowments to stay open, keep faculty, and attract students. Got a lot of blowback. Almost like endowments are a sacred cow. Personally, I think endowments have gotten to be less about helping students and colleges and more about AUM, manager’s fees and prestige. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the college experience?
Re the most at risk departments, you can look at the list of number of kids graduating with a major in Spanish or Philosophy and say that those are easy departments to cut because so few students majored in these. But these are both critical areas of study (IMO). I’m sure there must be plenty of kids, especially kids who major in the health field, who take several Spanish classes to keep or gain proficiency. And IMO every college student should have to take at least 1 philosophy class to become deeper, more aware thinker; to me, philosophy is the very hallmark of a liberal arts education. So, I’m not sure that deciding on the basis of the number of students graduating with certain majors is the best way to decide what to cut. Tough decisions.
Typically, a not-insignificant portion of endowments are restricted for specific, limited uses, as defined by the donors. Schools can’t use those funds for something else, such as funding ongoing operations. College financial statements typically show the proportion of endowment money that is restricted.
I know enough about trusts to be dangerous. I’m a trustee of a trust. I fully understand funds are earmarked. That said, trusts can be modified if all parties agree. Desperate times…might be time think outside of the box and see if endowments can be modified. My suspicion is that won’t happen because endowments have become more about AUM, manager’s fees and prestige than education.
Job prospects in academia have been poor for quite some time. Any student contemplating a Ph.D. should do so with the understanding that they need to be prepared for the possibility of having to pursue employment outside of academia and should ensure that they gain the necessary experience and skills that would prepare them for such an eventuality. In researching potential programs to attend, it would be best to also examine how well the school and potential PI’s are positioned to provide support to their graduate students in that area.
You can still have classes in an an area without offering it as a major. For example, you can still require a Philosophy class for all undergraduates without offering Philosophy as a major. Offering a class is far less strenuous on school funds than offering a major. I am not sure I would allow my kids (as long as I am contributing to the expense) to major in Philosophy (employability) but a class is totally understandable and acceptable.
A department could be reduced to offering only service courses for non-majors (e.g. Spanish courses for students in health profession majors); eliminating the major in that department would eliminate the need to offer upper level courses and therefore reduce the number of faculty needed. I.e. a department with little student interest in the major may not be at risk of complete elimination, but may be subject to cuts.
Also, sharing a small enclosed space (a vehicle) with someone else increases the risk of getting COVID-19. The riders may also be somewhat self-selected against those who are most careful (the most careful ones are more likely to want to avoid using rideshare).
On the other hand, it seems that package handling and delivery services are hiring.
I would hope that enough upper level classes will be offered next year for current juniors to finish up. Our son is a junior at Ithaca, but his major is popular enough that it’s probably safe. I feel for the kids whose majors are being eliminated, and the faculty members as well.
Obviously, every contract deal is different, but when I looked at something similar for a CA college a few years ago, legal basically said ‘if you eliminate the whole department, you can also terminate all tenured faculty in that department’; in other words, when their department goes away, their high cost tenured/guaranteed job goes away. That would mean, no more Intro classes in that department.
Note that not all of the faculty have professor titles. Some have the title of lecturer. Based on job listings at https://ehwy.fa.us2.oraclecloud.com/hcmUI/CandidateExperience/en/sites/CX_1/requisitions , lecturer at Ithaca appears to be a non-tenure-track usually part-time instructor job. So they may be easily cut if Ithaca cuts the Spanish and other language majors and redirects the tenured faculty to teach the service courses for non-majors.