Hamline’s deficit will affect classes next fall

Fewer electives will be available to students as Hamline tries to lower the current deficit.

Catherine Stolz, Senior Reporter

Ongoing discussions about Hamline’s current deficit have been taking place this semester, and the university has been looking for places to save money.  Students may see slightly larger class sizes, fewer adjunct professors and fewer electives being offered next fall.

Interim-Provost John Matachek said that the current deficit is “on par” with what it was directly after the 2008 recession, which led to some “challenging years.”  Matachek indicated that any changes that occur will happen in order to maximize the efficiency of the university.

According to Matachek, Hamline’s board of trustees has determined what is causing the deficit, as well as where money can be saved, mostly within the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). The board ––made the final decisions regarding the deficit, though both Matachek and the Interim-CLA Dean, Marcella Kostihova, were able to give their input and speak on behalf of the CLA faculty.

Matachek indicated that most of the changes coming this fall will include fewer elective offerings in certain majors, fewer open faculty positions being filled and more full time professors teaching intro-level classes. He said that the number of classes offered will “still allow students to meet all of their degree requirements,” and will allow for a more “condensed set of classes.” Matachek stated that instead of offering many elective classes that sometimes have unfilled seats, the number of classes will be lower in an attempt to  fill all seats in the offered classes.

Kostihova stated that caps on classes may increase as well, though by only a few seats, to accommodate the smaller class offering.  She indicated that while some caps are due to the number of computers or amount of lab space available, some caps are artificially created in classrooms that have the capacity for larger class sizes.

“This would be a painless way to readjust and not sacrifice academic quality,” Kostihova said.

Faculty positions that are currently open will also be assessed according to Matachek, and will be “filled to varying degrees.” Open positions may still be filled in the future, though not necessarily in the fall.

Kostihova has been gathering input from the CLA faculty on the changes that will occur. She stated that because some open positions will not be filled, full time faculty have been encouraged to teach more introductory courses.

“We have seen much more student success when full-time professors teach intro courses,” she said.

Kostihova indicated that she was “pleasantly surprised” with the support from the CLA faculty when these decisions were presented at an all-faculty meeting on March 2.

Although Kostihova indicated that these decisions “are not the sum of what we need to do long term,” and that more changes will need to be made in the future, she stated that these changes will not impede Hamline’s competitive edge, or stop Hamline from moving forward in the future.