Update, Nov. 2: In a meeting with faculty, Drinan said she misspoke, and the number of department chairs has not yet been decided. That number of department chairs may range anywhere from four to 18.
Late Friday afternoon, on Oct. 28, Cabrini University’s Interim President Helen Drinan announced to students and faculty through separate emails, that the board of trustees approved a three-year comprehensive plan to reduce debt and increase strategic revenues.
Monumental changes are happening to Cabrini University, including a merger of the School of Education and School of Business and Professional Studies; reduction from 18 department chairs to eight; and axing of senior administration positions.
Former President Donald Taylor created the four schools that many students are a part of, including the School of Education; the School of Business, Arts, and Media; the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and the School of Natural Sciences and Allied Health, each under the supervision of a dean. Cabrini University has dwindled down from four schools to three, and will now total two.
Cabrini is one of many small, faith-based universities across the country struggling with finances, enrollment, and COVID-19 related budget shortfalls.
Talks of a merger with a larger university are on the table, as was reported in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer released the same day as the announcement to the Cabrini community. In the article, Drinan said, “We are talking to all sorts of different people about possibilities because even though we are on a track that sustains an opportunity for independence, I think the direction in higher education in the United States makes it irresponsible not to be looking at those opportunities.”
While a merger is possible for Cabrini’s future the university’s leadership is not ready to talk about potential partners at this time.
What about us?
How will the big adjustments affect students? In Drinan’s email to students, she wrote, “For the vast majority of you, your experience at Cabrini will be no different. For some, however, you may see changes to our academic offerings in the future.”
Changes students can start to expect as early as next semester include the reorganization of Student Life, the elimination of the provost position, and three deans who will be replaced by a single dean of academic affairs and two associate deans, as well as the restructuring of the three schools Cabrini currently has.
Cabrini faces major financial problems and declining enrollment but due to these measures being put in place, Drinan says, the university is not facing closure.
In a statement to the Loquitur, Drinan said, “All of these data-driven changes were not taken lightly. They are happening with your experience and the Cabrini mission at the heart of our decisions. This is your school, and we will continue our work to provide the best experience we can. We look forward to working with the Loquitur as we provide you with information regarding the impact to students at Cabrini.”
There is more to come from the Loquitur in the coming days as this breaking news develops.
Victoria Emmitt contributed to the creation of this article.