Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Citing rising costs and changing student interests, Carthage College announced plans to eliminate up to 20% of faculty and restructure 10 academic departments last week, blindsiding some students who said the move “betrays” the institution’s identity as a liberal arts college.
Carthage Provost David Timmerman called the move “difficult but necessary.”
“Student interest is shifting, and they’ve been voting with their feet for the last 10 years,” Timmerman said. “In some cases, some departments have had higher numbers of faculty needed than students.”
Ten standalone departments — biology, classics, English, modern languages, music, philosophy, physics, political science, religion, and sociology/criminal justice — will be combined into a smaller number of departments under the proposal. Between 15 to 30 faculty, including tenured faculty, will face layoffs.
The proposal is part of a broader strategic move to prepare Carthage for what higher education institutions are calling the "demographic cliff" in 2026 when the number of 18-year-olds will reach an all-time low due to declining birth rates since the Great Recession. With a volatile economy and the cost of higher education greater than ever, colleges and universities have struggled to increase student enrollment revenues. Carthage College, like many other institutions, has increasingly invested in growing pre-professional programs such as nursing, data science and business.
With classes set to start in less than two months, Bradley Morelli, a senior, said students were blindsided by the announcement.