What do Emporia State’s layoffs mean for JCCC?

Graphic by Abby Rinehart

Emporia State University recently laid off 33 tenured employees due to “budget cuts” and eliminated its print journalism department when it fired its sole journalism professor and advise to the student newspaper. 

In a Sept. 13 editorial published in the Kansas Reflector, McCoy detailed his concerns about then-proposed termination policies and how they could impact society and education in Kansas.

“I’m not against change. Innovation is necessary. But one of the goals of tenure is to protect institutions from sudden and catastrophic change,” McCoy said in the article. 

In an article published by KCUR, ESU President Ken Hush revealed that decades of budget issues had put the college on the path towards financial crisis, claiming the university was suffering a “death by a thousand cuts.” 

Hush said in the same article that reinvention was the only way to end the decline and denied that charging students more would be a viable solution. 

“ESU will focus on core programs,  including nursing, biology, business, library and information management and teacher education, and eliminate low-enrollment majors,” Hush said in the article. “It will enable us to fundamentally change what we can offer our students, and that’s exactly what we are going to do.”

The recent changes have raised concerns about the fate of education programs and faculty tenure at other small colleges in Kansas. A recent report posted on NPR’s website questioned whether Kansas colleges offered too many degrees and if the Kansas Board of Regents might eliminate some degree programs. 

In an interview with Michael McCloud, PhD, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs/CAO, McCloud said JCCC consistently engages in program review, so there are always changes possible.

“At the current time, the Cosmetology program, with its auxiliary Esthetics and Nail Technician offerings, has been notified that there need to be improvements in the program, and we have suspended intaking new students to provide the faculty time to rework the curriculum of the program,” McCloud said.

McCloud added that after reviews, JCCC observes enrollment patterns, success rates and staffing to assure that programs run more efficiently for students. 

“[As of right now], there are no closures that I would say are imminent at this moment,” McCloud said. “Our budget is sound right now, so there are no major cuts in our academic offerings on the horizon as pertains to funding. All of our funding, however, is subject to any wide swings in taxation, enrollment, state appropriations, and a host of other variables, so we are always prepared to readjust if necessary.”

JCCC offers 42 associate degrees, and 57 certificate programs, as of Fall 2022.  

Currently, the administration has no intention of laying off employees, increasing tuition and fees, and making any major changes to campus. 

In an interview with Andy Bowne, JCCC president, Bowne says he can not make a statement on ESU’s decision. 

“I have not walked in the shoes that Emporia State is walking through,” Bowne said. “The difficult decisions that they’re having to make. It will be really unfair for me to make a statement about the decisions that they have had to make. 

Bowne says that ESU is taking their best information that they have to make a decision like this, on behalf of their faculty, staff, students, and “frankly, the state of Kansas.”

Abby Rinehart, news editor



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