Loyola University, which went through rounds of buyouts last year to deal with falling enrollment and budget issues, is contemplating eliminating or reducing dozens of programs as part of a restructuring plan aimed at cutting its budget by $10 million over the next five years.
The proposal still must be reviewed by the university’s president, the Rev. Kevin Wildes, and approved by administrators and possibly the board of trustees in coming months in a process that gives the affected departments the opportunity to appeal the preliminary decisions.
The process was driven by an 18-member panel charged with developing a long-term financial plan to put the university on stable footing. It made its recommendations earlier this week, and they were shared with the university departments Wednesday.
“It is essential that we all view this as an opportunity for future growth and investment as we identify high-performing and high-potential programs that will attract and retain students while positioning them for future success,” according to an explanation of the process by the administration posted on the university’s internal network.
“Loyola is committed to being transparent and inclusive throughout this endeavor, and we have included faculty and staff in the ongoing discussions. At every step, Loyola University has had the best interest of our current and future students at heart.”
University officials did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
It’s not clear how many jobs would be eliminated through the changes proposed by the committee or how deep the cuts would be for the programs slated for reductions.
Overall, about 22 programs are listed for complete elimination, including American studies, Catholic studies, film studies, the Center for Spiritual Capital and the Center for Entrepreneurship, studio art, theater, the Center for the Study of New Orleans and the Institute for Quality and Equity in Education.
Other grant programs, development programs and professorships are also on the chopping block.
Another 96 programs would face cuts, including the music department, all business programs other than the master of business administration program, the Financial Aid Office, University Police and several administrative departments. Sports, including both intramural and intercollegiate programs, are also slated for cuts.
About 80 programs would remain at their current funding levels under the plan, and 16, including environmental sciences, the honors program and the teacher certification program, would see increased investment.
Loyola has faced budget shortfalls that resulted in rounds of buyouts and reductions in employee benefits in recent years. The first, in 2013, came after 200 fewer students enrolled at the university than administrators had been counting on. That was followed by a round of layoffs and then an offer of early retirement that was paired with a two-year reduction in the university’s contribution to its employees’ retirement funds.
University officials announced this spring they had met their enrollment goal for first-year students for the coming semester, with at least 643 new students expected; the goal was 640. However, transfers were still short of the university’s goal, with only 49 of the hoped-for 130 students confirmed at the time.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.