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Wright State to Formally Announce Faculty Cuts

February 19, 2021

At a Board of Trustees meeting today, Wright State University is expected to announce more than 100 faculty layoffs concentrated in the liberal arts, the Journal-News reported. “The university’s enrollment has declined steeply over the past several years -- from approximately 17,000 to 12,000,” Douglas W. Leaman, interim provost, wrote in an internal memo to President Susan Edwards about the planned cuts. “Our data suggest that enrollment is likely to continue falling through at least 2023, when it will be in the vicinity of 9,000 (excluding medical students). During that same period of time, the number of bargaining unit faculty has not declined as significantly … As a result, I recommended in November 2020 that the university consider initiating the retrenchment process.”

Noeleen McIlvenna, professor of history and president of the American Association of University Professors-affiliated faculty union, told the Journal-News that she suspected the cuts were also about undermining tenure. “I understand that in a business, your profit is your marker of success, but in a public institution, educated people are your marker of success. You’re not trying to make a profit. You have to manage the money and you can’t lose any. You don’t ask schools to make a profit. You ask schools to teach our children.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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