How this college is slashing costs could be a model for schools nationwide
- The University of Akron announced it is closing six of its 11 colleges to cut costs brought on by the coronavirus.
- The school says the restructuring won’t cut departments or degrees but will instead focus on broad budget cuts.
The University of Akron in Ohio announced it will close more than half of its colleges to help mitigate the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The school will shuffle current departments and degree programs into the remaining colleges of business, arts and sciences, law, engineering, and health as it faces a $65 million decline in next year’s budget.
Additionally, according to University of Akron Executive Vice President and Provost John Wiencek, no departments or degree programs will be completely cut. Instead, the university will reduce department budgets by 25 percent and work to reduce administrative costs.
“Beyond the virus itself, the economic impacts are substantial and will require us all to change and evolve in response to this significant event,” Wiencek declared in a 17-minute video posted on the university website. He further explained the school’s thinking behind the decision.
“We need to make some evolutionary adjustments to our structures in order to minimize duplication and the associated costs, as well as to identify activities that we simply can no longer afford to do,” Wiencek said.
The site also provides reasoning for which colleges are remaining and which are closing.
“The plan seeks opportunities for collaboration,” Wiencek added. “This plan, or one augmented by your suggestions and after review by Faculty Senate and University Council, will yield savings by bringing programs together that can share resources, stimulate new areas of growth and reduce the inherent overhead costs of maintaining administrative offices.”
The newly announced restructuring follows an announcement on cuts to athletic programs by University of Akron President Gary Miller.
According to Cleveland.com, Miller said the university would reduce athletic expenses and non-academic administrative expenses by 20 percent.