Fresno Pacific University is making significant changes, including faculty cuts, due to declining enrollment and revenue.
Both faculty positions connected to the FPU Center for Peacemaking & Conflict Studies are being eliminated. The center’s work continues within the Community Justice Center, now a separate entity. The master’s degree program will continue, with courses taught by continuing faculty.
No majors have been eliminated. Faculty layoffs did not affect Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, the undergraduate biblical studies department, the School of Natural Sciences and visual and performing arts.
A projected deficit of $7.4 million in the 2022-23 academic year has been attributed to lower tuition revenue. Enrollment of 3,029 in the fall was down 14% from last year to 3,522.
FPU indicated in information provided to Anabaptist World that it faces challenges similar to many other colleges and universities, such as smaller numbers of traditional-age students, increased economic insecurity, lingering effect of the pandemic and increasing doubts about the value versus cost of a four-year degree. Bachelor’s degree-completion programs, which enroll the largest group of students at FPU, have been impacted by declining enrollment in community colleges.
Sixteen nonfaculty positions have been cut through attrition and reorganization, along with 13 faculty positions discontinued or remaining vacant. In October, FPU implemented a voluntary retirement incentive program for some longtime faculty. Eight chose to end their employment this June. Eight vacant faculty positions are not being filled, and five were discontinued.
President André Stephens acknowledged it is a stressful time but said the changes put the university on a good track. He pointed to encouraging spring enrollment numbers, which show only a 3% decline from the fall semester, well below fall-to-spring losses of the last two years. Traditional undergraduate applications are up 36%, a significant increase.
“We will continue to work strategically with internal and external partners to develop and implement a financially viable road map for our future,” Stephens said.
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