Excerpt from the fall 2021 issue of The Extension
The college-aged student population has been declining for years, leading many schools, Wright State included, to look for ways to reduce the number of faculty at all ranks. The Wright State administration decided that the goal would be to reduce the faculty by 113 positions. First, the university offered an incentive program to encourage early retirement. Originally, 90 people accepted the offer, but so many people in Computer Science were prepared to leave that two were told they had to stay on. COLA accounted for 33 of the voluntary separations and CEHS six.
The administration wanted to reduce COLA by 49 positions, 12 were retrenched and 4 more left voluntarily. Of the 12 retrenched positions, 3 were lecturers, 1 was a senior lecturer, 7 were associate professors, and 1 full professor. Higher ranking positions were able to be eliminated because the university decided to make some cuts at the program level rather than the department level.
The impacted departments were English, Modern Languages, Religion/Philosophy/Classics, History, Art/Art History, and the School of Public and International Affairs. Four faculty were retrenched in Education. All other colleges met their quotas. The AAUP negotiated another month until the end of September to give faculty more time to make decisions that would impact the rest of their lives.
Those who turned down the Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP) retained their legal rights. Those who accepted it waived any right to legal intervention. The retrenchment phase of reorganization is over. Bobby Rubin, current AAUP president, concluded that the university offered “a pretty good deal for people in bad circumstances.” In some instances the university offered better terms than the Collective Bargaining Agreement called for.
Rubin, who has spent his career at Wright State, is optimistic about its future. He takes the broad view of a university education. At its best it doesn’t prepare graduates for just one job. Rather it prepares them to be flexible, trainable good employees. He sees Wright State poised for a once in a lifetime opportunity. He is cautiously optimistic that we can get enrollments up. “We provide,” he says, “a fantastic, affordable education.” It’s time to stop being one of Ohio’s best kept secrets and let everyone know what we can offer.