- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Wesleyan College plans to lay off 45 employees and close 16 academic programs, a move officials say is necessary as the Mount Pleasant school focuses on its budget.

The school made the announcement Wednesday, and its Board of Trustees recently voted to ratify the changes, the Burlington Hawk Eye reported (https://bit.ly/1l1V36X ). The private college in southeast Iowa has more than 600 students.

College President Steven Titus said school committees reviewed programs, enrollment patterns and graduation rates over a period of several months.

“We have been working hard and diligently on taking a hard look at ways we can reposition the institution for the future,” he said. “It is no longer appropriate to fund programs with little to no student interest.”

The affected programs include communication, forensic science, history, prelaw, sociology and studio art. Some subjects within the teacher education program, such as art and music, will be cut because of low enrollment. And some sports within the athletic department, including cross country and track, will change to a club sport.

The changes will save the school an estimated $3 million.

Current students in affected academic programs will be able to graduate within their major. Cuts in administration will happen over the next two weeks. Affected faculty will be at the school through January 2015.

“The college will do what it can to support anyone who is in transition, whether it’s an administrator, staff or faculty member,” he said. “We have put in severance packages for administration staff to help support them in their transition.”

David Bishop, a longtime math teacher at the school who lost his job, said he was shocked by the news.

“To me, IWC was more of a family and not a job,” he said. “It’s like a death in the family. To me, Wesleyan was a family, and it’s like a member of the family has died.”

Lee Wolf, a 2007 graduate, said that while he’s saddened by the news, alumni want to help.

“The alumni is coming together and asking what we can do now,” he said. “What’s done is done, but what can we do to help the programs get running again? Everyone is very positive about putting every effort forward to help make the college successful again.”


Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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