Earlier this week, AU made budgetary cuts in various departments, including the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the School of Theology. The cuts, which included the laying off of faculty and staff, come at the hands of COVID-19.
The university Provost, Dr. Marie Morris, offered the reasoning behind these budget cuts and layoffs.
“As the university continues to respond to previously declining enrollments, as well as the most recent impact of COVID-19, there are 11 faculty positions that will be vacated at the end of this academic year,” stated Morris, “some of which will be by retirements.”
Thankfully, this means some of the faculty will have time to find new positions, as they are able to teach into the spring. Morris also commented that certain securities would be there for these faculty members.
“The way that faculty pay happens, they will be paid through the end of August 2021, as well as continue to receive health benefits to Aug. 31, 2021,” said Morris. “We value all of these faculty and their excellent teaching. We wanted them to know as soon as possible so they would have ample time to pursue other employment options if they so choose.”
Morris also noted that some of the retirements were planned in advance, so the positions would have to be filled, or left vacant, regardless at the end of next semester.
Commenting on the decisions themselves, Morris reinforced that they were strictly financially related. There is no ill will between the university and the faculty.
“I will say that none of these decisions were made lightly and were based solely on making sure that we position the institution in the best possible way financially,” said Morris, “We value their many years of service and look forward to celebrating them at the end of the year.”