Administrative proposal would eliminate projected deficit

A plan presented to the Minnesota State University Moorhead Faculty Association Dec. 5, 2013 outlines additional steps the university can take to avoid a projected $8 million deficit in 2016 and align resources with the University’s new strategic plan.  Within the plan, five low enrollment majors would be phased out and some academic departments merged. The plan would result in 16 fewer temporary faculty and six fewer tenured or tenure-track faculty, with the exact number depending on how many faculty accept a second round of early separation incentives. The plan would save $3 million.

These reductions combined with 20 early retirement offers accepted in November amounts to about a ten percent reduction in faculty and corresponds with a 10.9 percent reduction in enrollment since 2010.

Savings of approximately $3 million have already been realized from a reduction in the number of administrative positions, reductions in operating budgets, early retirement incentives and a partial hiring freeze. The university is also taking steps to increase revenue through enrollment growth strategies.

The majors to be phased out are American Multicultural Studies (4 students), Medical Laboratory Technician (14 students), Masters in Fine Arts (22 students), Music Composition (3 students) and Community Health (21 students). MSUM will continue to offer 70 majors.

“Our students now pay two-thirds of the cost of their education and, in recent years, we have invested in new majors where there has been student demand,” said President Edna Mora Szymanski. “But it’s simply not sustainable for students to subsidize majors with very few students.”

Students currently enrolled in programs identified for closure will be contacted immediately to develop a degree completion plan that will allow them to graduate within the next three years. MSUM will consider retraining opportunities and provide career placement services for faculty whose positions will be eliminated.

The following mergers are being proposed. Names of the new departments are yet to be determined.

History, Languages and Cultures

American Multicultural Studies

Women’s and Gender Studies

Political Science



Mass Communications

Communication Studies

Cinema Arts and Digital Technologies


None of the mergers would affect the degree programs offered by the current departments, but they will result in significant savings in administrative costs.

The Faculty Association will review the administration’s plan and provide formal response by Dec. 20, 2013. The administration will announce its final plan in early 2014.