Presidential Charge to Retrenchment Committee:

Charge 1:  Re-center our resources, people, and programs in a manner that is clearly mission-driven and designed to provide the outcomes that a CBU degree represents. Your work is meant to provide a new resource allocation model to provide a sustainable future for the University.  

The first part of your charge addresses paragraph C in Appendix G “In case of Financial Exigency, it may be necessary to eliminate Departments or programs which are not essential to the mission and goals of the University, have relatively few majors, and serve relatively few students from other Departments.”

This is also given in the Handbook in the following charge, “The committee shall recommend to the President a coordinated program of academic and non-academic services (correction of scrivener’s error) which will allow the University to continue to fulfill its mission in as effective a way as possible.”

Keeping with the Faculty Handbook, the Committee will need to evaluate each major/program using the criteria above. 

First priority:  Essential to mission

The mission of Lasallian education has always been to “address the practical needs and realistic options of the poor.” In the first schools founded by John Baptist De La Salle in France, “each subject area sought to be as practical as possible.”  De La Salle “devised curriculum appropriate to meet the needs of (his) particular students.  De La Salle saw what was needed was a curriculum that would provide the most benefit to the poor during the short time they were able to spend in school.” (Taken from John Baptist De La Salle, The Founding Story of Lasallian Education by the Brothers of the Christian Schools)

Based on the history of our mission, measures of a program/major being essential would include:

  1. Employer demand, especially in region, both currently and projected 5 to 10 years out
  2. Time to full employment in field after graduation
  3. Average starting salary in field, both by our own graduates and in general

Second priority:  Number of students who have declared the major

Low-enrolled majors (e.g., 12 or fewer students), should be considered for elimination.

Third priority:  Serves relatively few students from other departments

  1. Credit hour production by faculty in department
  2. Credit hour production per faculty member

Fourth priority:  Overall net cost/revenue analysis

The overall net revenue driven by enrollments, operating costs, personnel needs, physical space, and indirect costs should be considered to assess program viability.

The Committee is required to consider the first three criteria for program evaluation per Appendix G paragraph (3)(c).  The fourth priority is implied in paragraph b “in as effective a way as possible.”  In addition, the current and future status of program accreditation requirements and guidelines should be also considered as part of this charge.

Charge 2:  We must restore fiscal integrity to our operating budget and align our institutional expenditures with our anticipated annual revenues. 

This second part of your charge follows from the first and addresses the responsibility in the Handbook of the Retrenchment Committee to “determine the number to be terminated University-wide in order to relieve the state of exigency.” 

Data that may inform this number:

  • Credit hour production per full-time faculty member
  • Handbook-mandated minimum student-faculty ratio of 12:1
  • Number of full-time faculty over the past 15 years
  • Average faculty compensation including benefits
  • Current stipends and release time across faculty
  • Board mandate to eliminate $4 million in salaries, wages and benefits over the next 18 months, given that $1 million will be saved in staff and administration reorganization

“The Committee shall then meet with the Academic Council to establish the number to be released in each School.”  It is important to note that the Committee determines the numbers, not the personnel, as those recommendations are made by Department Chairs, acting with the advice and consent of the Deans and Vice President for Academics, subject to the President’s approval.  Related, the condition of Financial Exigency under the Handbook is “where the budget of the University can be balanced only by extraordinary means…”   This will take extraordinary means.  To this end, this charge includes the Board of Trustees charge to “eliminate $4 million from salaries, wages and benefits over the next 18 months.”  I am working to find $1 million of that in cuts to administration and staff, leaving the Retrenchment Committee to find the additional $3 million in faculty salaries, wages and benefits.

My overall vision was presented at the Town Hall.  Like the Brothers who founded our institution, we will center on God, Memphis, and students.  We will be “student-ready” and prioritize serving Memphis students and Memphis industries.  We will be the nexus that takes students from the Memphis-Shelby County School System and prepares them for the jobs available in and needed by the Memphis workforce ecosystem.  We will build an innovative residential bridge program and other opportunities which will upskill students in math that will allow them to pursue the majors that lead to good-paying careers and a trajectory out of poverty.  That has been, and always will be our mission.  

Charge 3:  Provide appropriate communication to the University Community.

The Committee, along with “other appropriate communication channels,” are “to be used to inform the University Community of the ongoing financial status of the University.”  As I have committed to fairness and transparency by providing our Community with updates through our website and posted Questions and Answers, such communications should be provided to all Community members through these means to ensure everyone receives the same and accurate information at the same time, and should be coordinated amongst the Committee and the University’s communications team.

Additionally, the Committee needs to be able to do its work free from fear of individual voting choices being shared outside of meetings.  I am asking that the Committee determine its own guidelines in this regard.  

Lastly, I am approving the faculty assembly request that the Committee be given the larger scope of looking beyond faculty salaries and benefits for cuts.  Please understand that the Board of Trustees has mandated a $4 million reduction in salaries, wages and benefits over the next 18 months.  This approval in scope expansion cannot alter the Board’s charge, but I am providing the general ledger excluding revenues, personnel expenses and scholarships for the Committee’s review.  

Relevant Dates

October 30                

  • List of recommended programs/departments to be eliminated
  • Number of faculty positions to be eliminated to relieve the state of exigency due to President

October 31                

  • Meet with Academic Council to establish the number of positions to be eliminated in each School

November 1 – November 10  

  • Department Chairs, with advice and consent of Deans  through a meeting between the Dean of each School, Department Heads, and VPA, determine which faculty members are to be recommended for termination

November 16           

  • Final recommendations of Committee of coordinated program of academic and non-academic services due to President

Retrenchment Committee

  • Andrew Assadollahi
  • Tracie Burke
  • Pam Church
  • Jennifer Hitt
  • Tawny LeBouef Tullia
  • Faris Malhas
  • John Malmo
  • James Moore
  • Randel Price
  • Tony Trimboli
  • John Varriano
  • Bru Wallace
  • Jennifer Weske


  • Ron Brandon
  • Bobby Carter
  • Beth Gerl
  • Jack Hargett
  • Lisa Manning
  • Chris Parker
  • Lydia Rosencrants
  • Br. Tom Sullivan
  • Amy Ware