Diacon announces hiring freeze due to $12 million budget gap

Molly Heideman

During the Faculty Senate meeting Monday, President Todd Diacon announced the implementation of a hiring freeze for the university.

Diacon said because of the university’s challenges of decreasing enrollment due to uncertainty around international enrollment and a decrease in high school graduates in Northeast Ohio, the freeze is necessary. 

“This decline, combined with our directing an additional $2 million to need based aid means that we have a $12 million gap to fill in order to deliver a balanced budget for Board approval…,” Diacon said. “Our plan is to cover three-fourths of this budget gap with a hiring freeze, which I will announce formally this week, and cover the remaining gap with efficiencies elsewhere.”

Diacon said the fiscal year 2020 budget will allow for six to 12 tenure stream faculty hires and “very little else.” Diacon said open key leadership positions “will be filled only on an interim basis this fiscal year” and there will not be a national search for Provost until fall 2020, as well as a cancellation of the search for a director of executive communications. 

A full narrative budget report will be released each October in an effort to be more transparent with budget concerns.  

Diacon spoke on his commitment to higher education and shared accomplishments of KSU, including Kent State’s Honors College enrolling the largest freshmen class in the college’s history. 

Faculty Senate also discussed establishing an undergraduate GPA major, minor and certificate policy and establishing a policy for graduate minors at its meeting.

Senate members voted to approve establishing a GPA policy for undergraduate majors, minors and certificates, to establish a policy for graduate minors and to establish a long-term change in the nursing home administration concentration as a stand-alone major in the College of Education, Health and Human Services (EHHS). 

Other topics discussed during the meeting were from the Educational Policies Council (EPC). The College of Aeronautics and Engineering plans to revise the technology major to Engineering Technology major within the Master of Engineering Technology degree, which will have four concentrations. 

EHHS will establish a sports medicine major to phase out the Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training. 

The College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business Administration and College of Communication and Information will establish an articulation agreement with the Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic. Students can attend Anglo-American University for the first two years of their studies, and then KSU for the last two years. Graduation and course requirements and admission will not change. 

James Raber, executive director of Information Technology, gave a presentation on learning management software and Robert Eckman, chief information security officer, gave a presentation on how to keep personal data safe from security issues. 

Michael Lehman, director of Brain Health Research Institute, spoke on the institute and new developments and collaborative, multidisciplinary goals of the institute. 

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be Monday, Oct. 14 at 3:20 p.m. in the Governance Chambers. 

Molly Heideman is an administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected].