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Loyola to Restructure to Meet Challenges of Next Decade

Loyola press release - April 11, 2006

(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans today announced plans for a major restructuring that will further nurture institutional excellence. The changes, if approved by the university’s Board of Trustees in May, will result in the realignment of five colleges and include dropping several degree programs, resulting in the elimination of 17 faculty positions.

“It is important to note that the changes we are proposing to our Board of Trustees are charting a proper course to best serve students as Loyola looks forward to beginning our second century in 2012,” said the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., president of Loyola.

The plan, entitled “Pathways: Toward Our Second Century,” is being rolled out to the University community beginning today. Faculty, staff, and students will have the opportunity to comment through the University’s website through April 19. The plan will be formally proposed to the trustees at their May 19 meeting.

Central to the plan are five key goals for the University: excel in educating students as whole persons; support high quality faculty, staff, and administrators; strengthen the Jesuit identity of the university; modernize facilities to maximize student and faculty success; and enhance the effectiveness of development activities.

The restructuring positions Loyola to implement the strategic plan and to meet financial projections for next year. In January, the trustees directed the university administration to work toward a balanced budget for 2006-2007. Projections at that time indicated a $9 million deficit for 2006-2007, based partly on a post-Katrina, lower-than-expected enrollment forecast for next fall. Loyola’s current operating budget is $125 million. Loyola currently has 4,000-plus undergraduate and graduate students.

“The trustees’ intent in directing this analysis and planning is to ensure that Loyola will responsibly and proactively address our budget shortfall so that the university continues on its past path of financial stability,” said Board of Trustees Chair Ted Frois.

“Clearly, we continue to experience, along with our fellow universities and colleges and many others in New Orleans, the challenges posed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Wildes. “However, we have been conducting assessment and planning in the university divisions for the past two years. The direction to address the financial issues provided a timely opportunity to use a university-wide process that culminated in this plan.”

The work force is being reduced by 17 tenured and tenure-track faculty, which represents six percent of Loyola’s tenured and tenure-track population. All affected tenured professors will receive their salary for the 2006-2007 school year. The university announced staff cutbacks in December.

“Simply put, we cannot financially afford the current framework of our organization,” Wildes said. “We must recognize market demand and conditions which necessitate a restructuring that ensures a positive impact on our students and the community, as well as our financial health.”

Wildes emphasized that the academic programs are greatly strengthened through this restructuring by eliminating overlaps and redundancies, as well as eliminating programs which have a low student count and a correspondingly low level of demand.

Students and prospective students in programs that will be affected are being notified individually by their primary academic contact. In an effort to minimize any student concern over curriculum changes, Wildes and University Provost Walter Harris, with respective college deans, will be holding a series of meetings over the next several weeks.

Additionally, the new structure will further the university’s relationship to the community by strengthening programs that integrate service with learning.

The plan is available at http://www.loyno.edu/strategicplan/

For further information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (504) 861-5888.