Higher Education and Human Resources

College cuts staff

June 5, 2017
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Calvin College campus students
Calvin College, with almost 4,000 students, is one of the nation's largest Christian colleges. Courtesy Calvin

In response to declining enrollment, a local college has announced it is cutting a number of staff positions.

Calvin College President Michael Le Roy said in a letter to faculty and staff on May 22 that the college is eliminating 12 staff jobs and leaving seven other vacant staff positions unfilled.

The college will pay the terminated employees through the end of June and offer additional severance packages based on the number of years served.

Le Roy said Calvin’s decision comes as Michigan high school graduation numbers continue to decline, affecting college enrollment.

“In Michigan, high school graduates have decreased from 123,000 to 103,000 over the last 10 years,” he said in the letter. “Over the next 10 years, the number of high school graduates will decline to 83,000. This situation challenges all higher education institutions to think differently about the future.

“At Calvin, we remain committed to our mission, even as we consider how to be prepared to respond to today’s realities.”

In February, Calvin announced it would offer voluntary retirement incentives to eligible staff and faculty. Twenty-one staff members are set to take the buyout, effective June 30.

“Some of these (staff) positions will be re-filled, some will be re-allocated to future needs and others will be eliminated,” Le Roy said.

The college has also received 17 applications for faculty buyouts starting in August 2018.

“Given that the number of faculty corresponds to our internal student-faculty ratio benchmarks, the college is not making any involuntary reductions to faculty,” Le Roy said.

He said the college plans to do as much as possible to ease the transition for those who are losing their jobs.

“The college makes these reductions with the utmost respect for each and every person,” he said. “Calvin will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous transition packages and help finding a new job.

“While I believe these reductions to be in the long-term best interest of the college, I feel deep sadness at the loss of these wonderful people.”

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