TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Catholic University Plan To Cut 35 Profs (Including 10 With Tenure), Increase Teaching Loads (From 2 To 3 Courses Per Semester) Draws Faculty Fire

CatholicFollowing up on my previous post, Is Catholic University’s Devotion To Its Faith Scaring Off Students?:  Washington Post, Catholic University Plans to Cut Full-Time Faculty by 9 Percent:

Catholic University officials are planning to cut their full-time faculty by 9 percent through attrition, buyouts and possibly layoffs, a cost-saving proposal that has rattled professors at the school known for its close ties to the Vatican.

Under the proposal, 35 positions would be eliminated from a roster that this school year includes 381 faculty members. Twenty-five of the departures would be “voluntary” and 10 “involuntary,” according to a Proposal for Academic Renewal, a document that has been circulating over the past several weeks on the campus in Northeast Washington. University officials said they are hoping to keep the number of layoffs of tenured faculty as low as possible.

Officials said their goal is to cut costs without eliminating academic programs. To do that, they’re asking some professors to take on a larger teaching load than they previously had by enforcing, with certain exceptions, a standard of three classes per semester for those in undergraduate and professional programs. Professors in doctoral programs would generally teach two classes a semester.

Chronicle of Higher Education, Catholic U. Is ‘Playing With Fire’ by Trying to Lay Off Tenured Professors, Committee Declares:

A faculty committee at Catholic University of America this week resisted a controversial cost-cutting proposal that would eliminate 35 full-time professors, including those with tenure.

The report of an ad hoc committee, published late Wednesday night, is a forceful rebuke of key components of a long-simmering layoff plan that has sown division at the university, which is based in Washington, D.C., and was founded by American Roman Catholic bishops.

In its report, which was provided to The Chronicle by a professor, the committee questions whether the university has the authority to lay off tenured faculty members without either cause, a declaration of financial exigency, or the elimination of programs.

“There is broad agreement in the university community that touching tenure beyond that which is provided for in the handbook is like playing with fire,” the report states. ...

Andrew V. Abela, the provost, wrote in his proposal that “the faculty handbook does not envision a situation such as the one we face now, where we are simultaneously trying to improve academic excellence and financial sustainability.” He argued, however, that the procedures for cutting tenured faculty jobs “are general enough” to be applicable in this case.

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As others have noted elsewhere, does anybody know how many non-faculty positions are being eliminated?

Posted by: JWJ | May 7, 2018 10:55:51 AM

Three courses per semester? Wow! Sounds almost like a full-time job!

Posted by: Publius Novus | May 7, 2018 1:16:29 PM

Three whole classes a semester? When will they have time to sleep?

Posted by: Skipp | May 8, 2018 9:07:08 AM