Faculty reactions: Educators raise their voices

Chuck McCall

Associate Professor of Finance & Economics

“My initial reaction to the administration’s plan is that it would create significant disruption and diminish the quality and reputation of the institution while achieving minimal savings.  I believe President Dell’Omo indicated that the program cuts would save the institution $2 million, which would come from the layoff of 14 full-time faculty, two clerical positions and not filling five existing faculty vacancies. This $2 million in gross savings is a very small percentage of the operating budget. It is very likely that program cuts and layoffs will not achieve a net savings to the institution. If 50 students currently enrolled in the majors to be cut decide to transfer, this would mean the loss of about $1 million in tuition revenue which would cut the expected savings by 50 percent.  If 50 prospective students decide not to enroll at Rider because their desired major is no longer offered, this would mean an additional loss of $1 million in tuition revenue, completely wiping out the expected saving of $2 million.  We would be left with cuts to the curriculum, faculty and staff layoffs, negative impact on current students, damage to the Rider’s reputation, impaired ability to recruit future students and no cost saving.”

 

Mary Poteau-Tralie

Professor of foreign language & literature

“I have spent 25 years devoted to this institution and its students. I love them all dearly and am devoted to their well being and preparation for life, unlike this president who has been here for all of four months. Did you know that all of the Fulbright winners from Rider have come from the German section? Did you know that our colleagues in art have established a world-class art gallery, a true gem on campus? Did you know that every single Rider student who has applied for the prestigious French Consulate Assistants d’anglais program to live and teach, fully paid, in France has been accepted? I am sure the president does not. For the sake of ALL of our students in all programs, please fight this. There is reflected glory in all that we accomplish. When educational programs are cut, the life blood of an institution is gone.”

 

Joel Feldman

Associate Professor of Philosophy

“I’d like to say something about the prioritization task force and what we were supposed to be doing. Our task was to evaluate all of the programs at the university and see if we could find places where we could make savings or present things more efficiently, where we could improve the quality of programs. We were going to look at every program on the basis of a broad set of criteria, that included things like centrality to the university’s mission. The one thing that the task force actually passed before all this happened, and it seems to [have] kind of fallen apart, was an operational mission statement which includes things like commitment to a broad liberal arts education, the education of the whole student for a fulfilling life, things like that, all taken from Rider’s own mission statement. There were other broad criteria like the quality of the program, the idea being to assess on the basis of a really broad set of criteria where every program stood, how it could be presented efficiently, how it could be presented most effectively. We might have recommended cutting, reducing or combining some things, but we were nowhere near completing that task yet.”

 

Harry Naar

Professor of Fine arts

“I don’t want to say too much except that I’m really disappointed. Especially with how much time I’ve spent — I started in 1980 and spent almost half my life here. I’m now in my late 60s. It’s disappointing in that sense. The other thing is that I’m teaching visual arts. You might not necessarily do art, but getting involved in art will enrich you a lot more. I always thought of art as a medium where I could create a situation where students would not be flat-minded. In our society, with so much competition, it’s important to not be flat-minded. So in that sense, it’s very disappointing.”

 

Carol Nicholson

Professor of philosophy

“If these programs are eliminated, enrollments will decline more dramatically because many current students will transfer, and prospective students will be less likely to apply to a university that does not offer programs in many major branches of knowledge. Alumni of programs that are being eliminated will be unlikely to contribute to the university. Rider’s motto, “In Omnia Paratus,” will become a hypocritical piece of false advertising. There is much wisdom in the ancient saying, “Don’t eat your seed corn.” I urge the administration to reconsider this reckless and suicidal course of action and initiate a dialogue with the Rider community about reasonable alternatives.”
 

Printed in the 11/04/15 issue.

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