New Jersey City University said in an effort to combat the financial crisis declared by the university’s Board of Trustees in June it is significantly overhauling its academic portfolio and will layoff and not reappoint some of its faculty and professional staff.
The Division of Academic Affairs on Thursday said it will reduce its academic portfolio by 37% by sunsetting 48 undergraduate programs, 24 minors, 28 graduate programs, 10 certificate programs, and one doctoral program. Several programs were previously scheduled for closure in the 2023-24 academic year. The programs impacted by these changes can be found here.
Current students enrolled in the programs identified for closure will be able to complete their programs and graduate without any obstacle. In most cases, students who were considering any impacted program will still find similar programs available.
“Today’s announcement is a difficult but necessary next step towards the long-term sustainability of the university mission,” Joseph Scott, NJCU Board of Trustees Chair said. “Our current financial crisis has made clear that the breadth of our current academic portfolio is no longer tenable for the size of an institution we need to be and the low enrollment in many courses can be linked to students’ inability to complete their degrees in a timely manner. I thank our academic leadership for their data-driven, painstaking work in determining which programs were mission critical and mission consistent, so our remaining resources can be allocated towards ensuring the strength of these academic offerings.”
The academic deans of each of NJCU’s four colleges — the College of Arts and Sciences, the NJCU School of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Professional Studies — in collaboration with the acting provost, worked to identify which programs to reduce by focusing on the NJCU’s vital role as a minority serving institution and weighing the viability of programs according to mission, market, and margins.
As a result of the university’s reduction in academic programs, up to 30 tenured faculty will receive notice that their position may be eliminated as of June 28, 2023. Additionally, the university will not renew the contracts of up to 19 non-tenured annually appointed faculty and professional staff for the 2023-24 academic year.
NJCU entered Fiscal Year 2023 with a structural deficit of more than $20 million and the reduction in its academic portfolio is a crucial step towards the university’s need to reach budget neutrality by June 30, 2023. Previous measures already implemented include a 41 percent reduction in the management-level workforce at the university since the pandemic — from 125 to 73 — highlighted by a reorganization of the senior administration and leadership announced on Nov.14, and the elimination of five athletic sports programs announced on December 7.
Despite the previous announced measures, prior to today’s action the university still had a $12.67 million deficit it needed to address. While the savings from these cuts will not be fully realized until the next fiscal year (FY 2024), after annualized savings from the portfolio reduction are realized, it is expected these rightsizing steps will be significant in positioning the institution to move forward beyond its current fiscal emergency, with projected future annual savings of at minimum $5 million.