Dear Erskine Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As you know, we have been working for several months on the details of a financial plan that will ensure the long-term quality and value of an Erskine education by addressing several immediate concerns related to accreditation and finances.
In August I announced the first of several measures, which included a reduction in salaries and benefits for faculty and staff, as well as a mid-year tuition increase. Our Aramark partners were also able to make reductions and adjustments resulting in a savings of approximately $300,000. Combined, these actions will enable us to achieve our budgetary goals for 2014-15.
I also announced in August that we would review programs in both the college and seminary, including structure and personnel. The various faculty and administrative committees have completed their reviews and provided their input and recommendations to me.
Yesterday, I began implementing a series of actions that will address the needs for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Altogether, the reductions and adjustments across the various categories total approximately $875,000 ($400,000 in the seminary, and $475,000 in the college). Unless otherwise noted, these changes will take effect in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which starts July 2015.
First, salaries for the president and vice president members of the senior leadership team will be reduced by an additional three percent.
In the Seminary:
- We will be eliminating three full-time faculty positions.
- The remaining seminary faculty members will voluntarily take a 25 percent salary reduction.
- We also anticipate an increase in seminary tuition revenue next year through expanded and new programs.
In the College:
- Three professors have announced voluntary departures or retirements at the end of 2014-15 (June 2015).
- Three professors will be on sabbatical for 2015-16 at reduced salaries for the year.
- Two professors have voluntarily requested significant load reductions with commensurate salary reductions.
- The department of Modern Languages will be discontinued, resulting in the elimination of all faculty positions in that department.
- In addition to measures already taken internally, the athletic department budget will be further reduced by $75,000.
These changes will require adjustments to curricular and graduation requirements and scheduling. Students with majors, minors, or specific courses directly affected by these changes will be contacted directly.
I encourage us all to exercise patience and extend grace to one another as we deal with the details of these changes. Disruptive changes such as these are especially difficult because they affect Erskine family members whom we love. So I would also ask you as an Erskine family to pray with and for those who are affected.
These actions, together with those we have already taken, will position us to achieve our financial and accreditation objectives. As we do that, I am confident that Erskine will be able to maintain compliance with accreditation standards, continue to operate from a solid financial base, and establish a pattern of long-term financial stability within our targeted two-year horizon.
Sincerely in Christ,
Paul D. Kooistra
President, Erskine College & Theological Seminary