By Hannah Krieger
Late last week President Greene met with faculty, staff and members of SGA to talk about the changes that Georgetown College must come to embrace. Greene stated that the “operations of the college have to be brought back into balance.” When Greene became the 24th president of Georgetown College, he was not unaware that the expenditures and revenue were not adding up. However, he realized that there is tremendous potential on this campus, and he wants to help Georgetown achieve what it is meant to.
Greene plans on a three–part “strategic renewal” that will be fiscally responsible, lower the costs and increase enrollment. The first part of the plan pertains to determining what changes will be initiated. By late spring, Greene is confident that there will be a plan already underway to remedy the out of kilter balance for the college.
The second part involves cutbacks in programs, faculty and staff. The president will recommend to the provost certain programs that may be considered for discontinuation. Greene emphasized that programs being cut is a completely normal affair that all colleges go through. Since program cuts have not been made on Georgetown’s campus in many years, it will make this process more difficult. President Greene’s recommendations on which programs to cut will not necessarily lead to termination of those programs. The current programs that are being looked into include: music; French; German; economics; commerce, language and culture; and computer science. Greene said appropriate notice will be given before a program is ended.
There are a variety of different factors that will be taken into consideration, including the interest level in the programs and the relative importance of the programs to the campus. The review process of some programs has already been in place since last year, but no actions have been taken.
Another area that faces cutbacks involves the faculty. Greene said that Georgetown has an excess of faculty members in relation to its student body. Normally, having a great number of faculty is a good thing, but usually only wealthy institutions can afford to have such small ratios. The student to teacher ratio at Georgetown, currently 10-11:1, is out of balance to the normal ratio that an institution like Georgetown should sustain, which is 15:1.
Greene commented on Georgetown’s ratio saying that it is “wonderful if you have the sources to afford it, but Georgetown does not.” Once again, Greene is making recommendations on the possible 22 positions that will be reviewed for discontinuation. Staff positions will be reviewed carefully as well as there is room to reduce, but how many workers will be cut is still undetermined.
While reducing some areas around campus, the third part of the plan involves growth and new beginnings. Admissions is consistently working to bring in more future Tigers and raise enrollment for the next incoming class. At this time, the number of students we have enrolled is higher this year than it was last year.
The plan is to keep increasing the growth of incoming freshmen. For the next academic year, the plan is to have 350 incoming freshmen. However, President Greene explained that he would love to have even more students attend the college and the number is just a minimal and attainable quota.
Greene is also interested in “identifying and investing where we can grow [new] programs.” There is a lot of potential in the health care fields, business area and the banking industry. Greene wants to find a way to plug in academic programs relating to these fields to help the industry and Georgetown College as well. There is the possibility of adding a criminology and criminal justice program along with a Masters business program. The goal of adding these programs is to complement the strengths the college already possesses in the liberal arts and sciences.
In the span of two to three years these changes should be completely implemented to help the campus come back into balance. Greene stressed that the processes and changes that Georgetown is going through are not that unusual, but because Georgetown is a small college in a close community, it makes the process more difficult to go through.
If a program that senior students are involved in is going to be terminated, Greene assured that they would work with the students to make sure they can get what they need to graduate. He said that “we will be very attentive to the needs of the students as we work through this.” Greene said all changes will come at appropriate notice to both the students and faculty.
President Greene is taking these steps to ensure the future and continuation of Georgetown College. He said that “I came here to help this college flourish and I intend to see it through.”