By Stephen Neukam and Hailey Hensley
Rider has decided to close the College of Continuing Studies (CCS), one of its five colleges, in a further effort to cut costs as the university deals with significant financial losses, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs DonnaJean Fredeen announced Sept. 29.
The news was broken to CCS staff and faculty in an abrupt meeting, with Fredeen saying that the financial projections for the university make the move necessary, giving the school “significant annual cost savings.” The closure is effective immediately.
The move will eliminate five positions and save about $500,000 annually, according to Fredeen. Others have been reassigned to different positions in the university.
Fredeen explained that the structure of CCS, which embedded faculty and programs into different colleges and departments, made the closure an attractive option. CCS focused on nontraditional students working to complete unfinished college degrees, and also managed Rider’s summer and January term classes as well as pre-college summer programs.
Some of CCS’ programs and functions have been relocated to different areas of the school.
Two university employees within CCS, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that CCS Dean Boris Vilic was laid off. When asked directly, Fredeen declined to discuss personnel matters. Vilic could not be reached for comment.
According to university projections, CCS had come in at 86% of its fall enrollment projection in 2019 and 85% in 2020.
The college’s summer and winter programs exceeded its revenue projections for 2020, bringing in $5.8 million, according to university data.
The move comes after the university made an effort last semester to invest in the college, relocating CCS to a newly-renovated office space on the second floor of the Bart Luedeke Center.
The release of Vilic as a dean is a move that bucks a trend of an enlarging management system at Rider. The university is planning on adding at least one more cabinet position with the addition of a chief diversity officer.
Between 2013 and 2018, management positions at Rider increased by 36 people, with a nearly $3.4 million boost in aggregate pay, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.