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ERIC Number: ED636791
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2023-Aug-21
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Faculty Retrenchment: An Exploration of Potential Warning Signs. NEA Research Higher Education Brief
National Education Association
Last summer, the National Education Association (NEA) developed a New Business Item to explore retrenchment: "The NEA shall make a statistical study on the effect of significant faculty retrenchment at community colleges on future faculty cuts" (NBI 78, 2022). ASA Research (ASA) conducted exploratory research in an attempt to identify warning characteristics, or patterns in the characteristics, of colleges that experience retrenchment. For the first phase of this research, ASA conducted a scan of journals, news articles, websites, and other publicly available documents to identify community colleges that experienced retrenchment in the past 10 years. ASA identified community colleges that underwent or are beginning to implement structural changes (e.g., elimination of departments or programs) that led or will lead to the elimination of faculty positions. For the second phase, ASA assessed trends in colleges' enrollment and finance metrics to identify metrics to use to warn of a potential coming retrenchment event. And, comparing changes in faculty numbers for examined colleges and all community colleges, ASA estimated what may be considered "significant" loss in faculty during retrenchment. Based on the scans, ASA identified 17 community colleges that have had a retrenchment event in the past 10 years, are in the midst of retrenchment, or are beginning to discuss it. The 17 colleges included four colleges each in Tennessee and Oregon, two in New York, and one each in California, Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. This descriptive exploration reveals enrollment declines in all 17 colleges examined, with some enrollment declines more severe than the average for the sector. Also, nearly all the studied colleges experienced declines in the number of full-time faculty, with the number of faculty being the lowest in the most recent year, 2021-2022. Overall, the community colleges examined saw a decrease in the number of faculty of about 17 percent over 10 years; of the 12 colleges with fewer faculty in 2021-2022 than in 2011-2012, the decrease was 21 percent or about 1 in 5.
National Education Association Research Department. 1201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-229-4200; Fax: 770-280-4134; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Information Analyses
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Education Association (NEA); ASA Research
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee; Oregon; New York; California; Colorado; Iowa; New Jersey; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A