FAQs about faculty reductions available on SC Connect


by Randy Paulson, Editor-In-Chief

A list of questions and answers concerning the recently announced faculty reductions is now available on Simpson College’s SC Connect page for students, faculty and staff, according to an email President Jay Simmons sent to campus on Friday.

“We encourage open discussion around what has happened and are committed to doing what we can to support and encourage all members of the community affected by these changes. We have created a page on SC Connect with a list of frequently asked questions,” Simmons said.

“You may also ask other questions that we will answer as quickly as we can and to the best of our ability,” he added.

The link to the FAQ page is listed under “My Links” in SC Connect, and then under the item “Program Prioritization.” The document is titled, “FAQs for October 2018 Faculty Reductions.”

The questions and answers are as follows:

Question 1: “Which specific positions were cut? Why can’t the names of the individuals impacted be shared?”

Answer: “We are committed to treating this process, and those affected by it, with as much dignity and compassion as possible. Publishing a list of names seems, to us, to be less respectful. Legal requirements in respect to privacy also limit the release of personal details. If and when those whose positions were eliminated choose to share that information, it will indeed be on their terms.”

Question 2: “Who will teach classes in majors/minors/programs impacted following the 6-24 month window?”

Answer: “Tenured professors can remain in their roles until May of 2020 and continue to teach in their discipline. Others affected may leave sooner, based on their contracts. We will utilize adjunct professors fully qualified to teach at the college level to fill in when necessary.”

Question 3: “How will the college ensure quality educational experiences for students in the impacted majors/minors/programs?”

Answer: “That a program is being phased out will not mean an inferior experience. As dedicated educators, we will attend to each student and their needs as we have done in the past.”

Question 4: “Will Art, German, and French continue to be taught at all (within the ECC)?”

Answer: “It is possible that classes in these disciplines will be incorporated into the curriculum.”

Question 5: “Why were only faculty cut as part of this fall’s reductions?”

Answer: “It is important to remember that over the last two years, staff has been reduced by 28 positions. As we finished the program prioritization process last spring, it became clear we needed to reduce on the faculty side as well.”

Question 6: “Will the college continue to honor such programs as the Simpson Promise? Are these programs sustainable?”

Answer: “We are very proud of how The Simpson Promise has made a Simpson education accessible for underserved students, which is why we have continued it for a second year. We are constantly assessing how we can offer opportunities like this while keeping our revenue and expenses aligned.”

Question 7: “Is the college at risk of closing its doors altogether?”

Answer: “This is the very reason we have to make difficult decisions like the ones we have made. Simpson is experiencing the same challenges as many institutions in Iowa and across the country. Declining and shifting demographics have a real impact on non-profit, tuition-driven institutions like Simpson. However, Simpson is in a position of financial strength with a strong endowment, the two largest consecutive annual funds in the school’s history, and a low debt ratio. Simpson’s challenge is not long-term financial stability, it is an operating budget challenge which needs to be addressed by addressing how we operate.”

Question 8: “Is there an email address where additional questions can be directed?”

Answer: “Additional questions can be directed to [email protected].”

The Simpsonian will provide updates surrounding faculty reductions throughout the next several weeks. Follow The Simpsonian on Facebook (@TheSimpsonian) and Twitter (@SimpsonianSC) for updates.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni wishing to comment can contact The Simpsonian at [email protected] or email Randy Paulson at [email protected]