School of Continuing and Professional Studies plans to cut half of its employees by May 20

Declining student enrollment and loss of revenue leads SCPS to reorganize faculty and staff

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Over the last seven years, SCPS enrollments have declined by 68 percent, including a 15 percent drop in course registrations this year. Chandler Collins | Cavalier Daily

The University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies is cutting about 39 staff positions over the next several months, reducing its workforce by approximately 50 percent by May 20.

In an email to senior leadership Friday, University Provost Tom Katsouleas and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis said the reorganization of faculty and staff “come[s] at a difficult time for the school” due to years of declining student enrollment and the resulting multimillion dollar loss of revenue.

Over the last seven years, enrollments for the school have declined by 68 percent, including a 15 percent drop in course registrations this year. In fall 2017 there were around 930 students enrolled in the school and that number fell to 829 in fall 2018, according to Alex Hernandez, dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Comprised of 77 faculty members, 17 certificate programs and a post-baccalaureate pre-med program, the SCPS provides a range of interdisciplinary curricula. Subjects include business and health care management and information technology.

“Our mission is to serve adult learners across the Commonwealth and we help them finish their degrees and certificates and advance in their careers,” Hernandez said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily. “In recent years we’ve just seen declining demand for our programs.”

The University plans to finalize details about the reorganization over the next couple of months, but will offer assistance and career option planning to employees who are impacted by the new organizational structure. According to Melissa Frederick, vice president and chief human resources officer at U.Va., the University is currently offering career coaching services for employees until the end of May.

Around 30 employees who meet the age and service requirements will also be eligible to participate in a Voluntary Retirement Program, which offers employees a financial buyout to retire, Frederick added. Wages for remaining employees will not be reduced, according to Frederick, but additional duties and responsibilities could be added. 

“The University is deeply committed to SCPS’s mission and we are confident a new strategic direction for the school will benefit current and future students and help it meet the rapidly changing educational environment which it serves,” Katsouleas and Davis wrote in an email.

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