Combating a Fiscal Year 2023 structural deficit of more than $20 million, New Jersey City University (NJCU) has announced a significant overhaul of its academic portfolio, including the sunsetting of undergraduate majors and minors, graduate, certificate and doctoral programs, and the layoff and non-reappointment of faculty and some professional staff, as it continues aggressive rightsizing efforts to combat the financial crisis declared by the university’s board of trustees in June.
The Division of Academic Affairs will reduce its academic portfolio by 37%. To accomplish this reduction, the university is sunsetting 48 undergraduate programs, 24 minors, 28 graduate programs, 10 certificate programs, and one doctoral program. Several programs were previously scheduled for closure in the 2023-24 academic year. The programs impacted by these changes can be found here.
“Today’s announcement is a difficult, but necessary, next step towards the long-term sustainability of the university mission,” said Joseph Scott, NJCU board of trustees chair. “Our current financial crisis has made clear that the breadth of our current academic portfolio is no longer tenable for the size of an institution we need to be and the low enrollment in many courses can be linked to students’ inability to complete their degrees in a timely manner. I thank our academic leadership for their data-driven, painstaking work in determining which programs were mission critical and mission consistent, so our remaining resources can be allocated towards ensuring the strength of these academic offerings.”
To reach this decision, the academic deans of each of NJCU’s four colleges — the College of Arts and Sciences, the NJCU School of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Professional Studies — in collaboration with the acting provost, worked to identify which programs to reduce by focusing on the NJCU’s vital role as a minority serving institution and weighing the viability of programs according to mission, market, and margins.
As a result of the university’s reduction in academic programs, up to 30 tenured faculty will receive notice that their position may be eliminated as of June 28, 2023. Additionally, the university will not renew the contracts of up to 19 non-tenured annually-appointed faculty and some professional staff for the 2023-24 academic year.
Current students enrolled in the programs identified for closure will be able to complete their programs and graduate without any obstacle. In most cases, students who were considering any impacted program will still find similar programs available.
NJCU entered Fiscal Year 2023 with a structural deficit of more than $20 million and the reduction in its academic portfolio is a crucial step towards the university’s need to reach budget neutrality by June 30, 2023. Previous measures already implemented include a 41 percent reduction in the management-level workforce at the university since the pandemic — from 125 to 73 — highlighted by a reorganization of the senior administration and leadership announced on November 14, and the elimination of five athletic sports programs announced on December 7.
Despite the previous announced measures, prior to today’s action the university still had a $12.67 million deficit it needed to address. While the savings from these cuts will not be fully realized until the next fiscal year (FY 2024), after annualized savings from the portfolio reduction are realized, it is expected these rightsizing steps will be significant in positioning the institution to move forward beyond its current fiscal emergency, with projected future annual savings of at minimum $5 million.
Throughout the continued process of rightsizing the institution, University leadership has worked closely in collaboration with the faculty unions to ensure that burdens are shared equally throughout the senior leadership as well as faculty and staff, while maintaining services and the student experience.
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