Keene State College has announced that it will be implementing faculty line reductions and realignments to adjust to declining student enrollment.
According to Keene State President Melinda Treadwell, Provost began to look for places where there are too many faculty members and too little students.
“Over the past several weeks our Provost and I agreed upon necessary faculty line reductions to create a more balanced full-time faculty complement to deliver our academic programs and to adjust to our current full-time student enrollment,” Treadwell said. “As a college we are committed to our academics. This is about realignment based on enrollment, so we are looking at where realignments should occur. We want to look at where we are too rich and too lean.”
The line reductions and realignments are meant to find an equilibrium between the faculty and students in various departments, Treadwell added. “These proposed faculty line reductions will bring us to a balanced instructional workforce that honors our learner-centered commitment and that balances our financial resources while aiming to sustain programmatic portfolio and departmental integrity.”
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ockle Johnson explained the line reductions by saying that each department at the college has a certain number of tenure track, clinical, and resident artist faculty which is referred to as a “faculty line” and a “line reduction” refers to “a reduction in the number of faculty in a given department.”
“As student enrollments have declined in recent years, there has been a decrease in the number of faculty and staff, but those decreases have not kept pace with the enrollment declines,” Johnson said. “As a result there is a structural financial imbalance that can only be addressed by further reductions in the number of faculty and staff. This is a necessary step to eliminate our financial deficit.”
According to Treadwell, the college has settled on a final list of 15 faculty line reductions. Johnson added that the initial way the College is seeking to achieve the line reductions in certain departments is through voluntary faculty departures.
“That involves a faculty member choosing to resign or retire from their position,” Johnson said. “There are separation and retirement programs available to faculty and staff to facilitate their transition from the College.” According to Johnson, faculty members choosing to leave the college through retirement or resignation will most likely leave at the end of the academic year, though some may choose to leave at the end of the fall semester.
Treadwell added that in additional efforts to meet the college’s “student obligation,” they are working on realigning administrative leadership. “I want better support for our students. I’ve spoken to students who feel like they get four or five referrals before they get what they need.”
While there will be 15 line reductions in faculty departments, Treadwell said the college has neither wanted nor proposed to eliminate any programs at Keene State. “That is not the way to meet our student obligation.”
Hunter Oberst can be contacted at