The Board of Regents at Pacific Lutheran University has announced a slew of changes at the Tacoma school, including the elimination of faculty positions and changes to several academic programs.
According to a release from the school, the adopted directives include about 28 faculty positions to be reduced, many coming from retirements and open tenure-line positions. The actions are part of an effort to reposition PLU to “effectively compete in an ever-changing college landscape while retaining our core strengths in the liberal arts and professional studies.”
“At PLU, we have to embrace the need to change so that we can control our own destiny,” said acting president Allan Belton. “PLU has always been accountable to the needs of our students and the vision of our faculty. This work is the next step in helping PLU remain true to its mission.”
The moves come after members of a school committee reviewed enrollment data, talked to academic leaders and analyzed the higher education landscape to develop recommendations for action. Those provisional recommendations went to the leaders of each academic unit to either affirm the committee’s work or to make suggestions of their own to accomplish similar outcomes.
Final recommendations were made to the provost and president for review in mid-September, with the president making formal reviews to the board. The board voted to undertake action this past weekend.
“The joint committee understood from the very beginning that there are no simple solutions to these challenges,” said Keith Cooper, associate professor of philosophy and co-chair of the Faculty Joint Committee. “But we also recognized how crucial it was to have faculty take leadership of any revisions and improvements to a PLU education. The final proposals emerging from the process will strengthen PLU and ensure a sound future for our students.”