A message from Hastings College President Don Jackson ‘70
During its recent meeting, the Hastings College Board of Trustees approved a plan to reshape Hastings College for the future. Developed with input from throughout the Hastings College community, the plan includes realigning some departments and programs to reflect current enrollment as well as reinvesting in existing programs.
We cannot ignore the reality that characterizes our segment of higher education. We knew when I became president four years ago that Hastings College, like other schools of a similar size and mission, was facing challenges to generate the enrollment and revenue necessary to remain viable and vibrant into the future.
For several years we have been running operational deficits in excess of $3 million. Thanks to the support of our Board of Trustees and generous donors, we have maintained the College without severely impacting our core mission, as we evaluated our situation and made plans for the future. This evaluative and planning phase included engagement with the higher education consulting firm, Stamats; our campus-wide program prioritization process; and the input of representatives of all of our key constituencies: students, faculty, staff, administration, the board, alumni, and community members.
Using all this information and input, I presented to the Board of Trustees a two-year plan to address our immediate budget deficit and to begin reshaping the College for long-term prosperity. As we begin this process, it is important to recognize financial aid packages, academic majors, and, for all but a small number of students, extracurricular opportunities for our current students will not change. This plan identifies more than $2.3 million in savings through the following means:
- Targeted operational budget reductions in administrative areas and athletic programs
- Revisions to our financial aid strategy for incoming students
- Prioritization of resources among athletic programs resulting in cost savings
- The elimination of 3 non-tenure-track faculty positions
- Not refilling 1 vacated non-tenure track faculty position
- The elimination or consolidation of 5 staff positions
- Moving one full-time staff position to part-time
- Additional savings through scholarship adjustments
- The elimination of 3-4 faculty positions in areas of low enrollment and 3-4 staff positions
- Elimination of the rodeo program
Where possible, we are relying on attrition to achieve personnel reductions, but in cases where this is not possible, we are making decisions guided by our commitment to minimizing the impact on the student experience. Between now and March, I will work with a group of faculty and administrators to review the prioritization work, the recommendations made by the prioritization steering committee, enrollment trends, and current staffing levels in order to settle on a plan for our academic staffing changes.
While we have not made final decisions on all specific changes that will be effective by 2018-2019, we do know there will be adjustments in the Music department. Over the last decade, we have seen a significant and consistent decline in Music majors.
Our goal as we worked through the program prioritization process has always been to find ways to keep us focused on our mission and to allocate our resources to capitalize on the opportunities we have.
We remain committed to our deliberate mentoring promise, we will continue to seek opportunities to enhance the student experience through exceptional teaching and the implementation of high-impact practices, and we will explore new academic programming that will fit with our institutional identity. Although this is a very difficult time, I am confident that, together, we will work through this challenging period in our history and emerge as an even stronger College.