Since Fall 2019 when Ithaca College first introduced the Ithaca Forever Strategic Plan, there has been considerable frustration and confusion throughout the campus community. While The Ithacan has consistently reported on this topic, some details have not been clearly outlined.
First is the difference between the Ithaca Forever Strategic Plan, the Academic Program Prioritization process and the Shape of the College. The strategic plan is an extensive, broad document that outlines the college’s values, mission, goals and objectives. One of nine goals is to “Determine and maintain an appropriate and sustainable size for our programs and structures, and the associated resources, at every level of the institution.” That goal has several objectives and was researched, discussed and proposed to the president and provost by the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee in early Spring 2021. After the process was complete, the APPIC released the final Shape of the College document which described specific recommendations for the campus community to fulfill the aforementioned goal.
The APP process is most commonly linked to the reduction of 116 full-time equivalent faculty positions. The reductions were made after final recommendations were given by the APPIC in Spring 2021 which included faculty and program cuts. In addition to the cuts, the Shape of the College also includes curricular revisions, faculty workload equity, implementation of the Pathways Program and further diversity, equity and inclusion work. The reduction of 116 FTE faculty positions included 23 non-tenured continuing faculty, eight full-time term faculty, 38 FTE part-time and overload positions that were cut once their contracts were up for renewal and 30 additional positions were reduced through attrition. The reduction of a further 17 positions occurred from voluntary retirement or planned departures.
All faculty data is counted by FTE positions meaning that the 38 part-time and overload faculty positions do not equal 38 people. The number of people is unknown but would be greater than 38 because two or more part-time faculty positions may make up one FTE position. Full-time faculty who are on academic year contracts have full credit loads — 24 credits per year — and part-time faculty have less than a full credit load. Full time faculty who have 12 month contracts have a 30 credit workload, and the Faculty Handbook section on workload is in the process of being revised to reflect this, according to Melanie Stein, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
The strategic plan is a five-year plan and many of the goals and objectives are yet to be implemented by the college or are in the process of implementation. Much of the institutional terminology and explanations can be difficult to comprehend. The Ithacan continues to cover the positive and negative impacts of the strategic plan; to report with accuracy, independence and integrity; and most of all to provide the campus community with pertinent and impactful knowledge.
Editors note: The sentence, “Full credit loads for other types of faculty positions vary — something that is currently being reviewed to address equity concerns,” has been changed to, “Full-time faculty who have 12 month contracts have a 30 credit workload, and the Faculty Handbook section on workload is in the process of being revised to reflect this.” This change has been made to clarify that the handbook is being revised and the review has already occurred.