Henderson State to cut history, biology, art and other programs in a bid to stay afloat

The dreaded cuts the Henderson State University community is preparing for were announced on Monday, and they are deep.

Chancellor Chuck Ambrose revealed a map that would eliminate undergraduate degree programs in geography, history, political science, public administration, social science, criminal justice, early childhood development, consumer science, social services, biology, radiography, chemistry, mathematics, nuclear medicine technology, medical laboratory science, studio art, arts education, communication, media communication, theater arts, English and Spanish. Students currently enrolled in these degree programs, or expected to enroll in fall 2022, will be able to complete their chosen degrees at Henderson State.

These cuts are not final until they are submitted to the Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees for a vote Thursday at 10 a.m. Henderson State Spokeswoman Tina Hall mentioned.

The cuts, while drastic, were not unexpected. Hall told the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network Debra Hale Shelton earlier this year, university programs were expected to shrink by 30-40%.

The plan revealed on Tuesday would cut 88 jobs, of which only 21 are currently vacant. This means that 67 people will lose their jobs. Of these 67, 44 are full professors. These cuts are expected to save more than $5 million.

The programs that will continue to be offered under the plan voted on Thursday are included in the table below.

The plan announced Tuesday comes after years of financial turmoil at the Arkadelphia school that at one point necessitated a state bailout. The school’s increasingly dire financial situation remained largely secret until 2019, when the chancellor Glendell Jones Jr. resigned under pressure.

Ambrose released a statement acknowledging the stress and anxiety that comes with painful cuts and such a drastic change in the college’s range of offerings.

Here is the full press release:

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Henderson State University Chancellor Chuck Ambrose today announced an academic reorganization recommendation designed to improve student success, address community workforce needs, and generate critical financial savings for the future of the institution.

The Chancellor’s recommendation and a plan submitted by the Financial Requirement Committee will be presented to the Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees for consideration at a special meeting Thursday at 10 a.m. at the office of the system in Little Rock. Details of the recommendations, Chancellor’s communication and questions and answers on the plan can be found at hsu.edu/futureofhenderson.

Henderson’s management team set an initial financial savings goal of $5 million on academic salaries. Eliminating or reducing the salaries of non-training units and restructuring administrative positions have already resulted in savings of $1.8 million.

The Chancellor’s academic restructuring recommendation reduces the total number of teaching posts by 88 – including 21 posts currently vacant – or 37% of the 237 posts in spring 2022. Of the remaining 67 posts to be cut, 44 are full professors who can remain employed through 2022. -Academic year 2023. The changes will result in annual salary savings of $2.55 million in fiscal year 2023 and an additional $2.79 million in fiscal year 2024.

The committee’s plan would result in salary savings of $3.74 million. It would eliminate all part-time and adjunct positions, all faculty lines for professors no longer with the university, and 33 additional positions. His recommendation would end 12 university programs.

Ambrose said faculty members who would be affected by his recommendation, if approved by the board, were notified by phone earlier in the day.

“I am deeply saddened for these faculty members and understand how difficult this process will be,” Ambrose said. “We did not take these decisions lightly and it is impossible to minimize the impact this has on members of our community. Henderson is a close-knit family and community, so we understand it’s tough. We will do everything we can to help these people during their transition.

“We simply cannot extricate ourselves from Henderson’s financial difficulties without implementing a significant restructuring,” he added. “Our low degree completion and retention rates have negatively impacted our tuition earnings while our teaching costs have increased. Student success through graduation and meeting workforce needs will be our top priority. »

Ambrose said the reimagining of college curricula is organized into four meta-majors that align with the skills, abilities, and talents that define the needs of the community workforce: health, education, and social sustainability; Applied professional sciences and technologies; Business innovation and entrepreneurship; and Arts and Humanities.

University degrees are designated either as “future study programs”, which will continue to be offered, or as “teaching degree programs”. Henderson students and freshmen currently enrolled in fall 2022 will be supported to complete teaching degrees. The academic disciplines included in the teaching degrees will continue to be integrated into the general education and interdisciplinary studies curriculum to improve outcomes for all students.