Quincy University, a Roman Catholic liberal arts institution in Illinois, has dismissed its president, who had seen the enrollment drop steadily during her term.
The total head count at Quincy slipped to 1,250 this fall from more than 1,350 a year ago. Over the past two years, freshman enrollment has gone down by about 30 percent. Tuition is $18,450, but with a full-time undergraduate population of only 863 students, almost all of whom receive some financial aid, drops in enrollment can have a major impact on the college.
The announcement, made during the first week of Quincy's winter break, does not explain why Sister Margaret M. Feldner was ousted, and university administrators, faculty and trustees have been tight-lipped about the decision. Travis Yates, a university spokesman, said the trustees will address the change in leadership at their meeting in January. The board chairman did not return calls for comment.
Yates said the college has "been looking at new ways of recruiting students," but called the notion that Sister Margaret was removed because of the low enrollment figures "speculation."
The Quincy Herald-Whig reported that faculty returned a no-confidence vote this fall for Feldner and the head of admissions, who was placed on administrative leave with pay earlier this month. Yates said he is unaware of the vote, and the Faculty Senate chair didn't return calls for comment.
A person in Sister Margaret's office said the former president was not on campus Wednesday and could not be reached for an interview. She had been president for fewer than three years and was the first woman to serve in that roll. Trustees earlier this year extended Sister Margaret's contract through 2010.
David Schachtsiek, vice president for academic affairs, has been named acting president. He joined Quincy in 2002 as dean of the school of professional studies and was named vice president for academic affairs in 2003. Schachtsiek did not return calls for comment, but said in a statement that he sees a "bright and vibrant future" for the college.
The college has had a number of presidents and interims in recent years, while it has shuffled its program offerings -- cutting some and merging others.