You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Wittenberg board OKs $4.5M in cuts

Springfield university president discusses what might come next.

Wittenberg University’s Board of Directors this weekend approved a plan to cut $4.5 million from the budget in the next four years.

The spending cuts were worked out over a difficult 10 months in which Wittenberg President Laurie M. Joyner arrived on campus and sounded the alarm about a $7 million budget problem, which some sensed was looming but caught others flat-footed.

And at a time when the trend is to judge college outcomes by graduates’ incomes, Joyner sat in her office last week, entertaining another notion.

“I’ve never known anybody who thinks (he or she) is living a meaningful life who isn’t successful,” Joyner said.

Her view that the current emphasis is “too much on the career piece and not as much on the meaningful life” may furrow brows outside the university. But it may also motivate a Wittenberg community trying to stay true to its liberal arts tradition as it moves toward a curriculum that offers more career-oriented programs needed to balance its budget.

The cuts leave $2.5 million more in red ink for the university to find over the next four years from one of two sources: cuts to its current staff and programing or new income from programs it already has started to develop, among them a bachelor of nursing completion program.

Peter Hanson, head of the Educational Policy Committee, which struggled through the cutting process in the past year, said the next year still is likely to be difficult but not as grim.

“I think it’s going to be one of change, when we’re going to start to begin to see the effects of the cuts,” he said. “But one thing that will be different is that Laurie (Joyner) has constituted an innovation committee” filled with people “charged to think outside the box.”

“I have confidence in the people who will be doing this work,” he said. “I think there’s an expectation, and I think there’s a faith, that they’re going to accomplish some very significant things.”

He said the speed at which the university moved to create a program to help registered nurses get their bachelor of science in nursing shows what can be done.

The program’s director was hired April 1, “and from that day, we proposed a new curriculum and degree, and it was approved by the faculty April 30,” Hanson said. “It’s a 29-day turnaround,” said Hanson. “I’ve never seen such a thing.”

The program will start in the fall.

Joyner she hopes the innovation committee can help the university’s parts connect in a way that can make a stronger whole.

“We have our admissions people working on a comprehensive internationalization plan,” she said, one that would not only boost enrollment by attracting more international students but address the serious educational question of “how we’re going to educate for global citizenship.”

At the same time, the university is trying to find out how to build on its strengths. One of those area has been East Asian Studies, a program some think the university should have exploited and grown into the kind of so-called “signature program” — one that would help to advance its reputation.

Joyner said such a program could be built by adding high-profile field studies or semesters abroad and co-curricular programs, related activities on campus related to the programs.

Joyner also said the university might build a program of “social entrepreneurship” by merging lessons taught in the business school with Wittenberg’s goal for students to find a vocation or calling and reach out in service to others. That could link, of course, to the university’s community service program.

Her brainstorming includes the possibility of parlaying the strength of Wittenberg’s science programs to build the first part of a physician’s assistant program in which students would spend their first three years at Wittenberg and perhaps two at another school for their practicums.

Joyner also talked about the need to change Wittenberg’s administrative structure so it can help students coordinate their classroom and out-of-class activities in ways that makes their educations more meaningful.

“We talk about educating the whole person,” she said, but need to develop an integrated approach to deliver on that, “a four-year developmental approach to each student.”

Although she said the most motivated and directed Wittenberg students take advantage of international study, internships, community service and other offerings, some others others do not.

“If we don’t organize our institutions in ways that work for them, we don’t maximize true potential,” she said. Doing that “is what families are demanding,” she said.

Again, the proposal serves two purposes: Getting students more involved in the whole college experience is not only more true to the idea of the liberal arts education, it also is a way to address one of the university’s chronic problems: students who leave Wittenberg before graduation, taking their tuition money with them.

“Ultimately, I think what a liberal arts education is about is helping students figure out who they are and what they value and what their responsibilities are to others,” Joyner said.

She and Wittenberg and hoping to persuade enough people that this remains the foundation of the successful career that goes with a meaningful life and is worth the $47,766 tuition and costs projected for the 2013-14 school year.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Clark County receives mixed results for air quality
Clark County receives mixed results for air quality

Clark County received mixed results on its air quality, according to a recent report from the American Lung Association. The county received an F grade for its ozone quality, but received an A grade for short-term particle pollution, according to the Association’s State of the Air 2017 report. RELATED: Springfield leader wants lifetime warranty...
Missing Alabama teen found safe in Texas 16 months later
Missing Alabama teen found safe in Texas 16 months later

An Alabama teen who vanished without a trace two years ago after taking out the trash has been found. Alissia Freeman, who was more than 1,000 miles away in El Paso, Texas, reached out to her mother, Vickie Metcalf, on a video call Monday after being out of contact with her family since she disappeared on Dec. 13, 2015. She was 17 at the time...
Demolition of Ohio bridge doesn’t go as planned
Demolition of Ohio bridge doesn’t go as planned

UPDATE 7:37: The implosion of the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge on I-71 in Warren County didn’t go as planned Sunday morning. An ODOT spokesperson said one of the explosive charges came loose, leaving one of four sections standing. Matt Bruning, ODOT spokesman, said crews will look to attach another charge, and try to demolish the remaining bridge...
Rape case lawyer says women are 'especially good' at lying
Rape case lawyer says women are 'especially good' at lying

A lawyer for a wealthy Tennessee businessman who was later found not guilty in a Memphis rape trial made a comment during closing arguments Thursday that raised some eyebrows. According to WHBQ, Steve Farese, attorney for Mark Giannini, said women are "especially good" at lying. "People can be very good at lying," Farese said...
Donald Trump reveals where he'll be instead of the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Donald Trump reveals where he'll be instead of the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Every year, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is one of the social events of the spring. For almost 100 years, journalists, government officials and celebrities have gotten together to crack jokes and eat expensive meals. The event has been attended by Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington. In 2011, then-President Barack Obama roasted Donald...
More Stories