Not here, thank goodness. Yet. But at Northwest Missouri State, some people are going to be out of work soon.
About 20 people have to clear their offices by June 30.
On Thursday, Northwest announced it was reducing its number of departments from 19 to 11, transitioning administrators to classroom positions and whacking its dance program and its department of family and consumer sciences.
O.K. So what does this mean for us?
With your indulgence, The Watch has an idea or two in that regard.
Like with any other great undertaking, no one wants to go first. Last year, when the first applications for tuition exemptions went down, it had to be the University of Missouri that “went first.” They had the resources and political clout to run interference. And even that didn’t help when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon penalized all tuition raisers but one. Missouri Southern got some tornado mercy.
That won’t happen this year. And this year, the UM system has too much to lose. It is someone else’s turn on the wrong side of the glory hole.
That someone is Northwest.
This is uncharted territory. Northwest is throwing its austerity program out there and giving everyone else something to work with. It’s like reading the putt of the golfer before you.
So let’s look at the Northwest Missouri plan as announced. This is likely the model that other regional universities will follow.
- Layoffs. Twenty souls and 2.8% of the university’s workforce sacrificed. Imagine your Thanksgiving table of 10. Pick three who have to die.
- Consolidation of department with a look to “synergy.” Synergy is code for “music and art are arts, so they are the same.”
- Moving department heads that are “synergized” back to the classroom.
- No announced cuts in athletics. Northwest is a power in Division II football and is in this year’s basketball Top 20.
Tomorrow, we will look at this “Northwestern Blueprint” and apply it to Missouri Southern. And what it could mean to higher education opportunities in Missouri.