After the majority of the dust from the COVID-19 pandemic settles, Ithaca College rests with 116 full-time equivalent faculty and staff cut from their roster and a hopeful plan for the future. These losses are standard and expected among colleges of similar size and status, but it is not the losses the college community should focus on, it is the recovery. The Academic Program Prioritization (APP) process is a slow build toward a better future, but filling the shoes all 116 faculty left behind will prove to be a struggle for the college. We must also acknowledge the snowball effect this has on staffing. Many faculty and staff are leaving the college for positions elsewhere. Those who are leaving our college are not harming themselves by doing so, they are moving on to better positions, better pay and better working conditions.
The faculty seem hopeful that the turnover of the upper administration will bring prosperity, and their hope is well-founded in the prior execution of the APP. Steven Gordon, associate professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies and a member of Faculty Council, said “It was difficult for that administration because they ran into the pandemic. … Every new management team brings in people they think can do the job they think needs to be done that hasn’t been done, as well as it could be in the past. And I think that’s what’s going on. So I think to me, the outlook is brighter.” His outlook echoes the aim of the APP process, and so far the college has stuck to it. The shroud of uncertainty and disappointment surrounding our past administration is clearing after the senior leadership shuffle, leaving the remnants of their mistakes behind. It is up to the new leadership to remedy those mistakes and raise Ithaca College back to its prime state and beyond.
This is not an impossible feat. The Ithaca College administration must look to the workplaces their faculty are departing to for a solution to their own staffing shortages. Raising wages and allocating funding for dying programs should be the highest priority for the college if they are to stay afloat as an institution.