The University of Alberta is cutting its staff roster while student enrolment is projected to remain the same. Yesterday, the university announced that so far 43 people have been laid off involuntarily. That number is expected to rise to between 50 and 75, depending on budget calculations from departments and faculties. It is unclear how many contract professors will be hired in the fall.
Additionally, 181 employees took advantage of an early retirement buyout package. Some of those positions will be replaced with younger, and more affordable, faculty and staff while others will be eliminated altogether. Canwest has reported that 171 other employees have accepted other alternative retirement packages. (Update: We have been informed by the University of Alberta that some information in the Canwest story is erroneous. In particular, according to the university, 171 employees were not given alternative retirement packages. Rather, there are 63 regular retirees, and 181 who accepted the early retirement buyout.)
The staff cuts are part of a plan to reduce expenditures by five per cent across all units in order to address a $14.1 million deficit. Much of the cuts were precipitated by a reduction in provincial operating grants, that were not apparent until the university had accepted a majority of students for the fall. Enlarged class sizes are expected to be one of the consequences.