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Local: Education

UDC plans to cut jobs, programs

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Photo - The University of the District of Columbia (Examiner file photo)
The University of the District of Columbia (Examiner file photo)
Local,Education,Lisa Gartner

The District's only public university is planning to cut seven departments, shutter two dozen majors and lay off 25 professors and staffers on top of 30 positions already cut, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner and interviews with school officials.

The University of the District of Columbia is also anticipating an internal review of senior management staffing and "a deep dive in the academic organizational structure" to find more areas where the school can cut jobs to reduce its overhead costs.

D.C.'s community college, which has been taking steps toward independence from the four-year university, may move into the flagship's Van Ness headquarters to reduce spending on facilities.

The D.C. Council is scheduled to review the recommendations of the "Right-Sizing Plan" at an Oct. 11 hearing. But the final decision belongs to the trustees, who approved the recommendations unanimously.

The university's finances came under the council's fire earlier this year as UDC's community college made a bid for independence only to discover that its chances at accreditation were hurt by its host university's financial instability. UDC spends $35,152 per full-time student, 66 percent more than institutions of similar size. Through the plan, UDC would bring costs down to $28,527 per student.

University President Allen Sessoms said he is not sure which positions would be eliminated. The 4,650-student university has not filled 30 jobs left vacant from retirements and other exits. An additional 25 positions are set to be cut through layoffs, with more possible after multiple audits.

Sessoms said he expects those decisions to align with program cuts. The university is planning to close seven departments and about 25 majors, focusing instead on several broad, interdisciplinary areas such as urban sustainability.

"You don't keep offering classes that no one's taking, you don't hire faculty to teach classes that no one's taking," said Elaine Crider, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees. Some majors up for closure include early-childhood education and finance.

UDC also is rethinking how it attracts students and may even begin helping students fill out applications; while UDC receives more than 10,000 applications each year, a large proportion are incomplete.

lgartner@washingtonexaminer.com

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