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Erwin Tower in the spring

President Margaret L. Drugovich shared with the Marietta College community on Thursday Board-approved changes to the College’s operations. These changes, which will occur within the current fiscal year as well as fiscal years 2025 and 2026, include a reduction in the number of employment opportunities and changes to some operations within the College.  

The information was shared in an open session that provided faculty and staff the opportunity to ask questions and consider the context of these important decisions.

President Drugovich announced that these changes, when combined with the Academic Program Review that was completed in the fall of 2023, will help to establish a more sustainable financial base for Marietta’s future operations. This financial foundation will be important, the President noted, as the College implements the recently announced Marietta Forward strategic plan.

“This community has done extraordinary, strength-building work this year,” the President said. “The Academic Program Review enabled us to identify and reduce a number of low enrollment and low growth academic programs. These additional operational changes will serve to further strengthen our financial base and secure a strong future.  Marietta Forward is our path to future success by redoubling our support for every Marietta College student.”

Sharing specifics, Drugovich announced that a total of 36 currently employed faculty and staff roles will be eliminated over the next three years. In addition, 13 currently vacant roles will not be filled. These positions include the 10 faculty and staff line cuts that were announced in October of 2023 as part of the Academic Program Review. Of the 36 currently occupied positions, 22 are full or part-time faculty, and 14 hold administrative positions. Tenured faculty are not included in the position eliminations.

President Drugovich added, “Changes that impact well-regarded colleagues are difficult.  We are very grateful for their many contributions to the College.”

During her presentation, the President noted that while the number of students has remained relatively stable over the last six years, net revenue from tuition and fees has declined as the College invested more in financial aid to help students bridge the affordability gap. Employee-related compensation expenses have also grown over this period.

“It is vitally important that we maintain an operational expense base that can be supported by our revenues,” the President said. “We must address these issues at Marietta now, so that the College’s future holds as much promise as our past. It is our turn to set the stage for the next chapter in the history of this great College.”

Marietta announced in October of 2023 a plan to phase out 10 low-enrollment academic programs over the next few years. Though specific faculty lines will be eliminated as part of the newly announced changes, no additional academic programs are being eliminated.

“The College has many well-regarded academic programs that will continue into the foreseeable future,” she said. The College’s 57 current programs of study include undergraduate programs in Leadership, Petroleum Engineering, Teacher Education, Communication, Health Science, and Psychology, as well as its Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

Marietta Forward includes investments in student enrollment, retention, and success-based outcomes in addition to new in-person and online academic programs. The full development of the Center for the Earth, Energy and Environment, that will build upon the College’s highly-regarded program in Petroleum Engineering, will continue as planned.

The changes at Marietta echo those that are occurring at many colleges and universities across the country, President Drugovich noted. She added that Marietta College recently welcomed students from Alderson Broaddus University into the College’s Physician Assistant program.

“Given the anticipated significant drop in college-going students over the next 10 years, it is vitally important that we remain flexible and creative and open to change,” she said. “We must also be very disciplined about the evaluation of our programs so that we can support their success on an ongoing basis. The success of the College over these last 190 years was only possible because Marietta continued to adapt to changing circumstances. Continued success requires continuous adaptation.” 

In October, the College’s Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan, Marietta Forward. The plan includes high-impact initiatives that will support the College’s students as their needs change. Marietta Forward anticipates the addition of high-demand graduate, undergraduate, and executive education programs, offered both in person and through remote instruction. 

“Marietta Forward is our doorway to the College’s future,” President Drugovich said.