28 LHU faculty face possible retrenchment
LOCK HAVEN — Several Lock Haven University faculty members were notified of possible retrenchment as the university continues to follow the order by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to right size.
This time, 28 faculty were given notification that they were identified for possible retrenchment, which will go into effect at the end of the 2021-22 academic year.
“LHU is continuing efforts to achieve financial sustainability. This is a necessary and fiscally responsible endeavor that is entirely separate and distinct from the integration process,” Elizabeth Arnold, executive director of strategic communications at LHU, said. “The achievement of sustainability involves a comprehensive strategy that includes budget cuts as well as reductions in personnel across the university.”
Arnold confirmed that 28 faculty members were contacted about retrenchment.
“Twenty-eight faculty members have been contact regarding the possibility of retrenchment at the end of the 2021-22 academic year and will meet with the administration later this month to determine where else in the bargaining unit they may be able to perform work,” Arnold said.
The university was ordered by PASSHE in 2020 to retrench 47 faculty members. The decision was made in an effort, along with cutting down programs or placing them in moratorium, in an effort to “right size” the university.
Talks of faculty retrenchment and removal of programs began in 2020 as the entire PASSHE system faced economic hardships due to low student enrollment at its universities. Since peaking at 119,513 in 2010, PASSHE enrollment declined to 95,494 in the fall of 2019.
In July, PASSHE’s board of governors voted to integrate six of its universities into two entities — LHU, Mansfield and Bloomsburg in the east and California, Clarion and Edinboro universities in the west.
Officials said earlier in the year COVID-19 accelerated the right-sizing which included integration.
Integration is expected to begin at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year but, according to the proposal presented to the PASSHE board in April, each university “incorporate the current location name … and continue to leverage (each name) in traditional ways, including with student recruitment, alumni and donor relations, branding, marketing, etc.”