Pacific Lutheran University cutting 3 dozen faculty, majors

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Pacific Lutheran University will cut three dozen full-time positions to stabilize its budget after a months-long review by faculty of potential reductions.

The cuts will eliminate majors in German and Nordic Studies, minors in Classical Studies, German and Norwegian, and the Master of Science in Finance degree, The News Tribune in Tacoma reported.

“While difficult, this work is an essential step in our strategic plan, and will allow PLU to remain true to its mission,” president Allan Belton said in a statement.

Course offerings won’t be impacted until the 2022–23 academic year and the university will work with students to complete their major or minor if they are already enrolled.

The reductions impact departments across the university, according to Antonios Finitsis, an associate professor in the university’s religion department. Finitsis also served as chair of the Faculty Joint Commission, which was responsible for reviewing enrollment data, the demand for majors, minors, and graduate programs and the faculty needed to support them.

“Even though it was painful, upsetting, anxiety-generating work, we did the absolute best we could,’’ Finitsis told The News Tribune.

Belton told faculty last year the university was facing declining enrollment, anticipated budget shortfalls and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are confident that the alignment of this difficult work with other important initiatives taking place around campus will help sustain PLU for many years to come,” Ed Grogan, chair of the PLU Board of Regents, said in a statement.

The university employs more than 300 faculty members and serves roughly 3,000 students.

The Associated Press: