January 18, 2013

Belt-tightening UHart cuts jobs, hours

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
The University of Hartford's Shaw Center, formerly Hillyer Hall.
UHart President Walter Harrison

The University of Hartford, in a bid to hold the line on tuition and overhead, says it is cutting more than a dozen jobs and reducing hours for a handful of others.

President Walter Harrison announced the belt-tightening Friday in a letter to the 56-year-old private university's community and to the media.

"Some of the decisions in the plans have been extremely difficult and painful to make," Harrison said. "Beginning today, we have eliminated three full-time and one part-time staff positions. Over the rest of calendar year 2013, we anticipate eliminating approximately 11 additional positions, four of which are currently unfilled. Eight other positions will be reduced from 12-month to 10-month positions."

The unspecified job cuts and other strategic realignment, he said, are the result of a top-to-bottom review of the West Hartford four-year school's education operations and mission by two task forces of faculty and staff.

Both teams spent six months reviewing, prioritizing, and placing 308 administrative and academic programs into four categories — receive investment of more resources, be maintained as is, be restructured, or be divested.

The academic task force was asked to identify $3.2 million for cuts or reallocation and the administrative task force was asked to identify $3.584 million. So far, the administrative team's plan identifies $2.65 million for reallocation over a five-year period. The academic plan identifies approximately $500,000, the school said.

Though the restructuring is in its very early stages, Harrison emphasized that whatever actions are ultimately imposed, "all currently enrolled students in those programs will be able to complete their degrees."

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