May 23, 2017: Stewardship of Resources Initiative
As I outlined in a message to campus on Monday, May 15, our efforts to forge a new strategic plan for the University will continue through the summer. Today, I would like to share additional information regarding the Stewardship of Resources goal, which is being led by Goal Stewards Dr. Tom Murray and Dan Burkey.
I am grateful that more than 250 of you gathered earlier this month in two campus forums to hear Tom and Dan provide an update regarding the status of the goal. Those forums were recorded and are available for viewing on the Strategic Planning website. While there are other elements within Stewardship of Resources, the Strategic Workforce Initiative has understandably generated the most discussion on campus.
It is important to note that the review of non-faculty positions and organizational structures did not begin with a set financial target in mind. Rather, the team used data regarding Creighton’s workforce size relative to peer institutions, recent growth in non-faculty positions, and additional information to conduct a thorough analysis to inform our decision-making.
As Tom and Dan explained in the forums, the preliminary results indicate a reduction of approximately 60 positions, or 4.5 percent of the non-faculty workforce. Some of the reductions will be achieved by eliminating open positions in some units, but the majority will come through a reduction in force. Work continues to clarify and confirm the details, and final decisions are expected by June 2.
Conversations with all employees affected by the workforce reduction will begin by June 5 and continue through the week of June 12. An announcement will be sent to the campus community when all discussions are completed, but we will not share a detailed list of eliminated roles.
We are committed to easing the transition for those who are affected. A generous severance package will be offered, and each employee will have a minimum of 30 days from the notification date before their position is eliminated.
Although Creighton is expected to welcome a large group of incoming freshmen very soon, the competition among universities has never been greater, as evidenced by the increased financial aid required to attract the fall class. Many families are struggling financially, and that reality increases the support they require to afford a private college education for their sons and daughters.
To ensure Creighton’s long-term fiscal stability, it is imperative that we find ways to reduce expenses, then continue to be vigilant about our cost structure going forward. It is also true that we cannot expect to cut our way to a stronger financial position, so efforts to selectively expand enrollments and secure increased philanthropic support are also essential.
While the next few weeks will be difficult for those who will leave and the colleagues they work alongside each day, I am confident the University will emerge from the Stewardship of Resources initiative stronger than ever and well-positioned to continue our important work of educating students in the traditions of Jesuit higher learning. Let us remain an encouraging community dedicated to one another and full of optimism about the future of our great University.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ