Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing 'Hard Choices' About Education; Forecast declines in enrollment and revenue trigger spending cuts and salary freezes; 'the world order has changed.'
by Melissa Korn, Douglas Belkin, and Juliet Chung. Wall Street Journal (Online). April 30, 2020
MacMurray College survived the Civil War, the Great Depression and two world wars, but not the coronavirus pandemic. The private liberal-arts school in central Illinois announced recently it will shut its doors for good in May, after 174 years.
Like many small schools, it faced declining enrollment and financial shortfalls. To lure prospective students, it was using steep discounts to its $30,000 listed tuition. Then the global health crisis brought unexpected costs for shifting classes online and partially reimbursing room and board for students forced to finish out the spring term at home. The loss of a $3-million-plus bridge loan was the final straw.
The pandemic "squeezed out the last rays of hope," said President Beverly Rodgers.
From schools already on the brink to the loftiest institutions, the pandemic is changing higher education in America with stunning speed.
Join members of the RAFO Executive Committee and President Jen Wilson as we discuss the announcements made during the last Senate meeting, the financial state of the university, and the next steps for RU and RAFO.
Please bring your questions and thoughts about Provost Lois Becker's statement concerning grading and allowing students to take an Incomplete for their final course grades.
We hope to hear from you.
To join the RAFO Open Chat Session on Apr 23, 2020 at 4:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada), click this Zoom link
Please join RAFO President Jen Wilson and other members of the Executive Committee in an open chat session discuss the change in working conditions since the beginning of the shelter-at-home orders.
We have minor updates to our MOU progress and the responses to the President Ali address from last week.
Each Thursday afternoon from 4-6 pm Central Time we gather via Zoom and share our best practices and greatest challenges to teaching online and managing the changes in modality from in person classrooms to Blackboard and video conferencing. All members are welcome to join and share their thoughts.
Sam Rowe, English Department.
This past November, a Professional Development Mini-Grant from RAFO allowed me to give a paper at the Historical Poetics Now symposium in Austin, Texas. The symposium is a biennial meeting of literary scholars working on 18th- and 19th-century anglophone poetry. Participants share a desire to place the study of poetry in deep historical context, understanding poetic genres, verse forms, and ways of talking about poetry as evolving and changing meaning in response to their circumstances. The field was born out of a frustration with idealizing ways of talking about poetry and poetic address, and a drive to study the meaning that poetry actually makes in its particular social contexts. Scholars presented work on topics like indigenous poetry of the American Midwest, nineteenth-century Bengali epic, the feminist history of the sonnet sequence, and data-oriented approaches to the analysis of verse culture.
As lead negotiator for the 2020-2024 contract, I am pleased to announce that your negotiating team and Roosevelt University have come to an agreement. RAFO is extremely pleased with the final outcome and we believe you will be, too. The University was adamant on 0% for the first year, but as an offset for that 0%, we negotiated a signing bonus of $150 for each bargaining unit member that taught either in Spring 2020 or will teach in the upcoming Fall 2020 semester. That then takes us into the final three years of the contract where adjuncts will receive a 2% increase for each of those years.
As I hope you can see from the above, RAFO worked hard to ensure that you are rewarded for the professionalism and integrity all have shown during these unusual and trying times. We are attaching a copy of the final contract for you to review and eventually ratify. The areas that appear in green are changes that were made to the verbiage in the contract that will support RAFO during the upcoming 4 years. Appendix A reflects the 2% increase for each step in the final three years.
A link with the time will be sent next week for all to join this a zoom meeting, where we can answer your questions about the contract.
In closing, we hope you will be as excited as we are regarding the new contract.
Don Wlodarski and the RAFO team:
Jen Wilson, Joseph Fedorko, Amelia Hicks, Stan Traywick, Mike Pinsoff and Dennis Tucker
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