Carson-Newman College eliminates academic programs, jobs

Carson-Newman College has eliminated three academic programs, top cabinet positions and other jobs as part of restructuring at the college, according to an email administrators sent to members of the campus community last week.

The athletic training, computer information systems and French programs will be discontinued at the Jefferson City college, and deans and program coordinators "are working to ensure that students invested in their majors have a graduation plan," according to the notice sent to faculty and staff by President Randall O'Brien.

School officials would not comment on "ongoing personnel matters," said Parker Leake, senior director for marketing and communications for the Baptist college.

Faculty in the athletic training program either declined to comment or did not return calls seeking comment. The other programs already have been removed from the school's website.

The school has also eliminated top administrative positions, including executive vice president, vice president of church relations, associate vice president for finance and vice president for marketing and communication. It's unclear how many of those positions were vacant, though former Executive Vice President Dan Hollingsworth left last year to become president of Piedmont College in Georgia. The school has also eliminated two positions in the Office of Advancement and one position in alumni affairs.

A professor still under contract at the school, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation, said most faculty were caught off guard by the layoffs and eliminated programs. At least six faculty members and an unknown number of staff members lost their jobs, he said. The News Sentinel reached a professor earlier this week who had been laid off but declined to comment.

O'Brien told reporters in early December he had no plans for layoffs. The comments came within days of receiving word that Carson-Newman's full accreditation had been reinstated following a yearlong warning for a low profit margin.

The school, which has a $35-million budget, has been battling financial troubles in recent years, including landing on a federal list of schools that failed a financial responsibility test, though the school contends it received a letter from the Department of Education clearing its finances.

Source: Knox News