Keene State College is facing a $5.5 million expense reduction target for fiscal year 2019 (FY19), which could result in position eliminations for faculty and staff. Additionally, the current three-school model for KSC has been restructured to form a two-school model, effective FY19.
During a campus-wide meeting held on Nov. 28 in the Redfern Arts Center, KSC Interim President Dr. Melinda Treadwell and Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire Dr. Todd Leach discussed future plans for KSC.
Treadwell announced a voluntary separation program, which she said would be a new incentive chosen via an application process and available to all benefitted and tenure-track faculty members. However, this program has the potential for the campus to “become too lean in some areas,” Treadwell said, and the program risks the possibility of full departments wanting to take advantage of it and leave.
Once those who are willing to apply are accepted, the administration will then reassess the positions financially needed to be eliminated.
Additionally, Treadwell released the campus’ new two-school model, which will consist of a School of Arts, Education and Culture and a School of Sciences, Sustainability and Health. However, she did not come up with this model on her own. From Nov. 13-16, Treadwell held four listening sessions to get input and feedback on what faculty and staff felt was important to consider in creating a new school model.
Faculty suggested wanting opportunities to revise the Integrative Studies Program (ISP), as well as recognize that majors matter and department chairs are essential leaders within the campus community.
This model will have two deans and a shared administrative staff, according to Treadwell, but all department chairs, faculty and staff will remain consistent for each major.
The two schools are separated by academic communities, five total within each school, and the departments fall within the appropriate placement.
In terms of how this restructuring will be affecting the departments individually, Nursing Department Chair Dr. Patricia Shinn said the new two-school system won’t be significantly affecting the nursing program. However, she said it may change who she’ll be reporting to.
Currently, the three-school system is represented by four deans: one in the School of Arts and Humanities, one in the School of Sciences and Social Sciences and two in the School of Professional and Graduate Studies.
With the two-school structure, both schools will have a dean, Treadwell said, but it is unsure as to who they will be.
When taking the voluntary separation incentive into consideration though, Shinn said a couple of the full time nursing faculty members may take advantage of it.
If the nursing program were to lose one full time faculty member in a given nursing specialty area, she said, the college may have to re-hire in that specialty in order to stay under accreditation.
“I understand where the college is at financially. I’ve been at other colleges where it’s been that difficult and nursing needs to be a part of the change to help the whole college through this hard time, so if we have to be back at three full time faculty, then that’s what we’re back at and we’ll hire qualified adjuncts,” Shinn explained.
Shinn said she’s on board to help the college through this challenging time.
“I don’t see it as a negative. I see it as a challenge and I like challenges or I wouldn’t be here,” Shinn said.
Department Chair of the Communications and Philosophy Department Dr. Nigel Malcolm did not have a comment on the ideas presented.
Multiple department chairs were also contacted, but did not respond in time for comment.
Treadwell was open to the fact that both of these ideas are not flawless and offered a slide during her presentation regarding parts of her plans that still need further discussion.
These included conversations about gaining clarity of roles for deans, chairs and affiliated faculty members, realigning administrative support roles and investments and potential efficiencies needed.
Treadwell reassured the campus community that the $5.5 million target is “manageable.” “You all should expect me to get our budget balanced by FY19,” Treadwell said.
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