At LSU, program closures, faculty layoffs threaten enrollment
- Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander says that the school loses about $150,000 for every faculty departure.
- The challenges at LSU mirror those at Lincoln University, another smaller land-grant institution in Missouri, whose president, Kevin Rome, has decried the lack of state investment in the institution, which declined to match the university's federal land-grant allotment this year.
- Lincoln's history program was discontinued after administrators cited it for low enrollment and graduation rates, as part of an effort to build strength and resources in more popular majors. In Baton Rouge, similar state cuts have cost LSU more than 25 faculty members over the last year, and 500 layoffs over the last decade.
The similar challenges of two institutions of varying size and mission and in different parts of the country tell a story of a more widespread issue facing higher ed as a whole: dwindling state budget support is forcing layoffs among faculty, closed programs and potential enrollment shortfalls. These struggles are common for many institutions throughout the country which are publicly governed in systems featuring large flagship institutions.
They are specifically being harmed by politically-charged performance-based funding formulas, which often penalize institutions for fulfilling a mission of providing higher education access to underserved communities with students who may not be ready for full-time college degree pursuit, but can adapt with appropriate remediation and training. Schools must adopt a more proactive approach to sharing budget issues and legislative priorities with their publics in order to gain more public support for academic development, cooperative extension, and outreach initiatives.
- The Times-Picayune LSU losing faculty, possibly students over budget cuts, university president says
- Jefferson News Tribune Lincoln University terminates some faculty