Goshen College is eliminating 15 administrative positions and reducing the hours of five additional employees, effective at the end of June.
This move, along with cutting several full-time faculty positions last December, will save the school just less than $2 million, according to Jim Histand, vice president of finance.
College officials noted in an interview Wednesday, May 7 that seven of the positions being eliminated are already vacant. Eight people, however, will be let go. Five of those people are full-time and three are part-time.
These decisions are hard for the college to make but necessary, Histand said.
"We don’t see this as our own battle, it’s really the challenge for higher education as an industry," he said.
He said that small, liberal arts four-year institutions such as Goshen College are struggling as students turn to online and community college options.
When students return in the fall, there will be several changes as a result of the personnel shift.
Students will notice more collaboration between departments such as student services, information technology, alumni relations, career services, marketing, recruitment, the library and the department that handles printed materials for the school.
Scott Barge, director of assessment, said parents of students may notice that they are getting more information digitally rather than through the mail.
Administrative services will be located more conveniently and open for longer hours, and there will be more services available at the library, Barge said.
The idea is to give students better service while saving some money at the same time, Histand said.
"We are looking at … what are the services that are critical to the learning process and which ones are maybe not so critical?" he said. "Which ones are students and parents willing to pay for?
The college is also making other non-personnel changes that will enable it to save another $2 million next year, for a total savings of about $4 million. Tuition will still increase each year, but these changes will allow Goshen College to keep the increases low, Histand said.
This is all part of a strategic, multi-year plan to keep Goshen viable as a higher education institution.
Jodi Beyeler, interim director of communication for Goshen, emphasized that none of the people being laid off had poor job performance.
The school has notified these employees and will be providing severance and helping them find other jobs.
"It’s painful to be losing our colleagues who we deeply value and who have been doing good work," Beyeler said. "They will be missed."