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Published: Thursday, 9/12/2013

Pennsylvania university wants to cut 42 faculty, 5 majors


EDINBORO, Pa. — State-owned Edinboro University wants to cut more than 50 staff, including 42 professors, and eventually eliminate five majors due to declining enrollment and a resulting projected budget deficit.

The announcement comes a month after Clarion University, also in western Pennsylvania, announced plans to cut up to 40 jobs, including 22 faculty, and suspend music education, German and French courses. The schools are two of 14 that comprise the State System of Higher Education.

Edinboro administrators were expected to meet with union officials on Friday to discuss the planned cuts. Professor Jean Jones, president of the campus faculty union, said she was "shocked" by the contents of Wednesday's announcement and that it came before the meeting with the union.

University president Julie Wollman said the school has lost 18 percent of its enrollment since 2010, and now has about 7,100 students. That leaves the school with a 16.5-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, but Wollman said the ratio has to be about 20-to-1 for the school to break even.

In addition to the faculty cuts, Edinboro officials may cut 13 managerial and staff positions on top of 11 managerial spots that had previously been trimmed. Despite that, the school faces a $5.5 million deficit in its $95 million budget for the 2013-14 academic year. The non-faculty cuts would be made this year, while the faculty cuts would take effect for 2014-15.

The university also wants to places an enrollment moratorium on bachelor's degree programs in music, music education, German, philosophy, and world languages and cultures. That means no new students will be accepted in those programs, which will eventually be eliminated.

"The programs are on that list because there is so little demand for them," Wollman said.

Degree programs with less than six graduates annually over a five-year period can be placed on the moratorium list. Fewer than 100 students are enrolled in the programs that will likely be cut, university spokesman Jeffrey Hileman said.

Still, Jones said she's puzzled by the planned cuts.

"In a global world, they're thinking about removing foreign language studies," Jones said.

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