Dear Commons Community,
The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article describing that furloughs, layoffs and other cost-cutting job actions have begun to take place at colleges and universities due to the coronavirus pandemic. The end of the academic year has institutions preparing for an uncertain future and anticipating further financial upheaval in the fall and beyond.
Plans are surfacing, with details still to come. But what’s already clear is that faculty and staff members are experiencing the brunt of the impact. Furloughs and layoffs are underway at various institutions, with more expected. The size of higher education’s work force will shrink as hiring is frozen while institutions take on new duties. Untenured and adjunct faculty, and other contingent employees are at greatest risk.
The employees who are left will face the challenge of trying to navigate classrooms, offices, and other parts of campus in line with public-health standards. Many have already expressed reluctance to return to their institutions in the fall.
Here are three observations mentioned in the article.
- Colleges have announced more than 250 employment-related actions since the pandemic unfolded. The tally is dominated by furloughs, though some colleges have carried out more than one kind of action against employees.
- The largest share of layoffs and contract nonrenewals is happening at public colleges, whose state appropriations are in jeopardy because of the coronavirus’s impact on the economy.
- The age of many postsecondary instructional staff members puts them at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. Roughly one in three are 55 and older.
If there is a second or third wave of the pandemic, the fiscal pain will be much more severe.