UM Plans to Cut 201 Jobs Because of Falling Enrollment

University president Royce Engstrom announced the cuts Tuesday

By Molly Priddy

MISSOULA — The University of Montana is planning to cut 52 faculty posts and 149 other positions to meet budget challenges.

University president Royce Engstrom announced the cuts Tuesday — along with reductions to academic programs — as UM struggles to stabilize its flagging enrollment.

In his announcement, Engstrom characterized the reductions as creating more appropriate staffing levels on campus. He requested that affected parties offer feedback over the next week to their leaders, such as faculty senators.

Engstrom said the university aggressively added positions as its enrollment grew from 11,900 full-time students to 14,000 full-time students and 1,748 employees.

Estimated enrollment for 2017 is 10,915 students with a staffing of 1,455.

“The total employee number is still significantly larger today than in pre-recession days of similar enrollment,” Engstrom said.

About 25 of the 52 faculty positions are already open.

Among the academic programs Engstrom listed as targets for reductions are journalism, anthropology, English, geography, liberal studies, art, political science, forestry management and several Missoula College programs. Programs that will close or undergo serious renovations include: energy technology, electronics technology, graduate programs in foreign languages, and consolidation of some programs including the broadcast and journalism degrees.

UM plans to strengthen its health care and human development programs along with data and computational science and business and entrepreneurship programs to attract more students.

“We are proud of our heritage, and at the same time, we must adapt to the expectations of students, parents and citizens,” Engstrom said.

The university also will make cuts in research staffing, library staffing, athletics and administration, he said.

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