Institutional Realignment Plan
Last Updated: March 11, 2021
Dear UE Community,
Today the University of Evansville announced the institutional realignment plan, which is a comprehensive blueprint for our financial sustainability that includes transformative changes in academic, administrative, and athletic programs. Incorporating elements from more than a dozen faculty proposals, this forward-looking, innovative plan puts UE on firm financial footing and provides for strategic investment of resources to strengthen and expand our 75+ existing majors.
The institutional realignment plan results in fewer program eliminations than originally announced and addresses an unsustainable structural deficit for the University. Most importantly, this plan firmly establishes UE as a 21st Century University grounded in liberal arts and sciences and ensures that our rich legacy of providing a comprehensive education that prepares students to thrive in today’s world will continue for future generations.
Since the announcement of the draft academic realignment plan in December, the senior administrative leadership team has hosted discussion forums with faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and community leaders. During these forums, we provided updates, listened, and invited feedback regarding substantive ways to resolve the growing operating deficit and position the University for a vibrant, sustainable, and promising future.
Key academic changes include:
The Department of Music will transition into the UE Music Conservatory, allowing UE to retain all five music degrees (Music Education, Music Therapy, Music Management, Music Performance, and the BA in Music), increase revenue through enhanced and new partnerships, and expand its reach through innovative community offerings.
Several majors will be retained as a direct result of adopted faculty proposals that created novel, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions for the future. Majors being retained include:
- Cognitive Science
- Computer Science
- Ethics and Social Change
- Political Science
Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Software Engineering will pause in admissions of new freshman for one year as potential options for redesigning these majors are evaluated. The hiring of qualified visiting professors will ensure all current students in these programs will be able to continue their studies through graduation without any anticipated changes to our Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation status during this time.
Art History, Philosophy, and Religion will no longer be offered as majors to incoming students. All current students in these majors will be able to continue through graduation in their chosen disciplines. Religion will remain as a minor.
As part of the realignment, 19 tenured faculty members elected to participate in the voluntary separation program that includes severance of 12 months’ pay and a one-time $10,000 payment to assist with healthcare costs. These faculty members will teach through the end of the current academic year. Five additional faculty will move into redesigned positions at UE, and three faculty will enter into a phased retirement period. Beyond this, no other faculty positions will be eliminated. This is significantly fewer reductions than the 38 faculty positions originally announced in the draft academic realignment plan and will provide greater savings.
These changes in the academic component of the institutional realignment plan will result in a total savings of $1.75 million.
There were a variety of innovative faculty proposals submitted throughout this process that served as catalysts for rethinking the status quo. Proposals such as these are exceptional examples of the creative thinking and problem-solving approaches that will move the University forward. Several faculty proposals that have been incorporated into the plan are:
The creation of the UE Music Conservatory that preserves all music majors and will reach more broadly into the community to teach and introduce young people to our outstanding faculty.
The engagement of one of our faculty members to serve as a faculty recruiting coordinator. This coordinator will lead an Academic Recruitment Team consisting of faculty members who will all receive course releases to serve on this team.
A proposal from Biology will work to establish a Master of Science in Genetics and Disease along with a new dual BS/MS option for Biology and related majors. This program is designed to generate additional enrollment without requiring substantial additional resources.
Key athletic changes include:
The elimination of nearly $1.1 million in future expenses through changes to UE’s athletic scholarship program in golf, swimming, and track and field. No current student-athlete scholarships will be affected by these changes.
An annual savings of more than $300,000 through an updated room and board policy for athletic scholarship recipients.
Changes from the athletics component of the institutional realignment plan will result in total estimated savings of $1.4 million. These changes to UE Athletics will make it a near break-even program as our student-athletes continue to compete at the NCAA Division I level.
Key administrative changes include:
The Schroeder Family School of Business Administration and the College of Engineering and Computer Science will merge into the College of Business and Engineering, allowing for synergies in cross-disciplinary programming, experiential education, and engagement with employers. The Center for the Advancement of Learning will also be placed in the College of Business and Engineering to further enhance institutional opportunities and collaborations.
The elimination of 12 administrative positions in the Department of Academic Affairs, Department of Fiscal Affairs and Administration, and Department of Student Affairs. All employees whose positions have been eliminated have already been notified.
Phase-out of Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association (VEBA) plan. Current full-time employees age 40 and over will continue to receive annual discretionary contributions. Eligibility will cease for current employees under the age of 40 and all future hires.
These changes in the administrative component of the institutional realignment plan result in a total estimated savings of $660,000.
The initial goal of institutional realignment was to generate operational savings of $3 - 3.5 million and position UE for the future. As a result of the above changes in academics, athletics, and administration, the University’s total savings will be approximately $3.8 million.
Members of the University of Evansville Board of Trustees have been fully briefed on the institutional realignment plan, and the Executive Committee voted Monday to recommend approval by the full Board of Trustees. The Board will meet tomorrow, Friday, March 12, to consider and vote on the institutional realignment plan.
If you have questions about the institutional realignment plan, please visit the UE webpage, which includes a Frequently Asked Questions section and provides a way to submit additional questions.
This has been a difficult and challenging time for our University, but UE could not continue to be successful without making substantive changes. I want to personally thank our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the Evansville community for their patience and understanding throughout this process. I am grateful to those who engaged in productive discussions to create and share alternative ideas to the draft academic plan that were key in helping UE reach our desired goals. We are enthusiastic about the path ahead.
The University of Evansville has always been proud to shape powerful and enduring change. This remains true as we adapt to the changing landscape of higher education and continue to provide transformational educational experiences for current and future generations of students.
Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz
University of Evansville