Budget causes restructuring

Erika Kauffman 

Editor in Chief 

 

Recent budget concerns led to changes in faculty and staff positions at Geneva, taking effect on June 3 at the start of the new fiscal year. Several positions at the college have been eliminated, reduced to part-time or redistributed. 

Due to by-laws set in place that require the president to present a balanced budget to the board of trustees, it was identified in February 2019 that the financial projections for the next three years were lower than expected. Administration immediately began crafting a plan to balance the budget. 

“We had to look at priorities that are stated in the strategic plan . . . that our campus leadership group, which included the department chairs, associate vice presidents, directors and different parts of the college, [identified], said President Calvin Troup. “We got together a number of times and identified mission faithfulness as something that had to be protected most strongly”  

Administration first considered how the college could reduce discretionary spending at an operational level; in other words, the spending that does not include personnel. The second area of consideration was how the college could generate new revenue. 

“Over the past six years or so, the college policy group has faced budget deficits . . . and we’ve been able to manage those deficits using those two kinds of activities,” said Troup.  

However, because of what Troup referred to as “the magnitude of the problem this year,” the college had to make serious decisions that would inevitably affect personnel directly. The college did not take emergency action that involved spending endowment or increasing debt, although other schools in the area had chosen those options, because of the missional importance of exhibiting financial stewardship. 

“Everything we do educationally needs to show up in how we lead, to the greatest degree possible,” said Troup.  

The final plan included a restructuring of faculty and staff that laid off seven individuals, reduced the hours from full-time to part-time for fifteen individuals and chose not to replace nine members who already had plans for departure from the college. There is also a small percentage of individuals who have been moved from full-time faculty to staff positions. 

Troup emphasized that this was a restructuring based upon financial need and not individuals’ performances.  

“It took us many, many weeks of distress to get to the point where we were ready to make decisions and take action,” said Troup. “We know all the people and . . . we respect everyone’s work. . . we recognized that by having to eliminate some positions and restructure some other positions that we were making significant personal and professional decisions that were affecting people’s lives personally.” 

An official list of the positions that have been restructured will not be released by the college due to an obligation to respect the professional lives of those personally affected. 

Jeffrey Schindel, associate professor of communication, is among the faculty members directly affected by these changes and will be moved to work in enrollment. As part of his contract with Geneva, there is a clause allowing this kind of change when a significant need arises in an area suited to his skillset. While his transfer to enrollment may only last through the next year, he looks forward to using his experience as an advisor to help perspective students learn about Geneva. 

“I get to toil in another part of the vineyard,” says Schindel, citing Matthew 20.