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ERIC Number: EJ1090305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1546
Closing up Shop: Perspectives on the Departmental/Programmatic Elimination Experience
Donoff, Susan B.; Rosser, Vicki J.
Journal of Higher Education, v87 n2 p272-299 Mar-Apr 2016
Departmental and programmatic eliminations represent a new paradigm in the history of American higher education. Hastened by a national economic recession and competing state funding priorities, public postsecondary institutions have turned to academic attrition as a solution to continuous budgetary shortfalls. As a means of addressing the lived experience of faculty members and department chairs, the following qualitative case study explores perceptions of implementing departmental and/or programmatic eliminations. Utilizing uncertainty reduction theory as a conceptual framework, interviewed faculty in units that were initially selected for elimination, but eventually saved, experienced considerable strategic uncertainty, failing to understand why they had been included within a budget reduction proposal. Guided by a college-wide strategic planning process, faculty in eliminated units understood the rationale for abolishing departments, though they experienced considerable structural uncertainty in terms of adjusting to a new, nonacademic reporting structure. These findings indicate that a transparent strategic planning process diminishes strategic uncertainty, while the elimination of traditional departmental structures heightens structural uncertainty.
Ohio State University Press. 180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1002. Tel: 614-292-1407; Fax: 614-292-2065; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A