We must take a direct, informed, and holistic path toward positioning IC for future success by developing a more focused, strong institution. This was a part of our strategic work before the public health crisis related to COVID and the subsequent decline in enrollment for academic year 2020-21.
Embracing our areas of strength and promise and growing in areas of real interest to students allows us to leverage the capacity of our resources and to position Ithaca College well. This approach also requires us to stop doing what is no longer central to student interests or sustainable for the college.
This effort is among the most challenging and difficult realities any institution will face. It is painful, but it is necessary if we truly want to put students first and to have a strong institution with a very bright future ahead.
And as we move through this process, we must hold fast to our institutional value of equity. This change cannot come by simply reducing staff. We must do this collectively across roles, departments, and levels, especially in the area of academic programs as they relate to student success and interests.
Our strategic plan provides for nonacademic and academic program review, both undertaken to result in not only a right size, but also to fulfill our additional Ithaca Forever goal of being an employer of choice. This includes affirming our commitment to competitive salaries and benefits, such as our retirement match and offering annual salary increases.
Nonacademic Program Review
The nonacademic program review has been an ongoing and focused effort to explore areas for administrative cooperation, as well as to identify opportunities for efficiencies and elimination of redundancies. This has been a painful process. Since March 2020, 264 staff — our colleagues and friends — have been impacted by furloughs, position eliminations, or reductions in hours.
Academic Program Review
Last year, we began the effort to prioritize our academic programs as part of our first-year implementation of Ithaca Forever. Valuing transparency and inclusion, the Academic Program Prioritization Action Group was convened, which included faculty leadership and was comprised primarily of faculty. With the help of many members of the Ithaca College community, the group worked throughout the 2019-20 academic year to develop the guiding principles that will direct our holistic, data-driven, and inclusive process of academic program prioritization.
This semester, the work continues with the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee (APPIC), which has been charged to develop recommendations regarding the future shape of the college’s academic programs.
With 547 full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty positions currently, in order to have the desired 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, the college must decrease the number of faculty FTE to approximately 416 — a change of 131 — by the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year.
This will be accomplished in a variety of ways, including faculty retirements, not filling vacant faculty lines, and distributing faculty workload equitably. In addition, some academic programs will be discontinued and others consolidated, which will result in a number of current faculty members losing their positions in accordance with section 4.9.8 of the Faculty Handbook.
It is critical to understand that no decisions have yet been made about programs to be discontinued, since such decisions will be based on the recommendations from the APPIC. It is also critical to understand that students who are currently in affected programs will be able to complete their degree in that major at Ithaca College.
A timeline of this work and decision points can be found at the bottom of this page.