Black Hawk College announced Thursday it will eliminate 17 full-time positions — 15 at the Quad-Cities Campus — as it implements the next phase of restructuring to address lower than expected enrollment and the loss of much-needed state funding.
At the East Campus, a business education instructor and a history instructor will be cut, according to John Meineke, the college’s marketing and public relations director.
Meineke said an instructor will be hired for the new veterainary technician program, so the net loss to the East Campus will be one instructor.
The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center reported enrollment nationwide at two-year public colleges declined about 153,000 students (a 2.6 percent decline) in 2016 compared to 2015. Black Hawk College was not immune to this trend as Spring 2017 enrollment declined 8 percent compared to Spring 2016.
Higher education is changing and the financial realities facing Black Hawk College are similar to those most community colleges in Illinois are dealing with.
“Eliminating positions is very personal because we are saying goodbye to dedicated and valued people,” Dr. Bettie Truitt, president of the college, said. “But to ensure the financial health of the institution and continue to provide high-quality education to our students, we must be forward-looking in our planning and budgeting.”
Steve Frommelt, vice president for finance and administration, said, “The college has received only 35 percent of anticipated funding from the state over the last two years. In addition, the lack of direction from lawmakers creates uncertainty and makes planning difficult.”
Truitt said the college did not consider across-the-board cuts but instead looked at every area for opportunities to gain efficiencies and reduce costs in order to refocus the institution for future growth.
“The college has faced headwinds before. But for more than 70 years we have served our students and communities well. With continued hard work and dedication from our faculty and staff, we are very optimistic about our future,” Truitt said.