- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Drury University is taking steps to explain why an estimated $3 million in cuts to personnel are necessary.

The Springfield News-Leader (https://sgfnow.co/1Lk97pE ) reports that university officials attribute the need for cuts to declining enrollment, and have sent emails to students, faculty and staff outlining their immediate and long-term plans.

“As Drury adjusts to changes in enrollment amid demographic and economic shifts, the university must make reasonable and responsible adjustments when it comes to resources, including personnel,” Drury President David Manuel wrote in an email to faculty and staff. “These are the kinds of adjustments all organizations must make when charting new courses for the future.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Combs said the cuts announced this week were driven by a desire to recalibrate the teacher-to-student ratio. He said the goal is to return to the ratio from a decade ago, when there was one teacher for every 12.5 students.

Five years ago, Drury’s traditional “day school” enrollment was 1,618. This year, it stands at 1,325.

In explaining the situation, officials on Tuesday for the first time put a number on the total positions eliminated in the past two years: 40. The university publicly confirmed reports Monday that it plans to eliminate five positions in May and seven positions at the end of next school year, and reassign three others.

Sam Brady, a senior in English and political science, said he would like the university to be more transparent about its personnel decisions.

“It’s been concerning,” he said. “It seems like Drury is having financial problems and every year it is getting more dire.”

The university currently has 132 full-time faculty, five part-time faculty and 18 adjuncts on staff.

Combs said Tuesday that talk of students staging campus sit-ins, launching social media campaigns and contacting alumni likely will likely not alter the outcome of budget decisions.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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