THE IMPACT OF ENROLLMENT DECLINE UPON SELECTED
FLORIDA COMMUNITY COLLEGES
ADELBERT JOHN PURGA, III
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE (
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Adelbert J. Purga, III
I am eternally grateful to my wife, Margaret, for her continual
comfort, untiring efforts, unending patience, and helpful suggestions
during the entire program of study and preparation of this dissertation.
Her love and devotion made it all worthwhile.
I wish to express my deep appreciation for the direction and
helpful suggestions offered by my supervisory committee during the
creation of this dissertation. Dr. James L. Wattenbarger, chairman of
the committee, along with the other members of the committee, Dr.
Ralph B. Kimbrough, Dr. John M. Nickens, and Dr. Albert B. Smith,
III, have offered insights in inspiration.
A special word of thanks is expressed to the presidents, deans,
and faculty of the four colleges who participated in this study. An
attempt was made to maintain anonymity in reporting the results of
Finally, I wish to acknowledge my parents. They have been
totally supportive throughout every phase of my education. They never
waivered in their faith in me.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . .
ABSTRACT . . . .
I. INTRODUCTION . .
The Problem . .
Statement of the Problem .
Propositions Developed for the
of Declining Enrollment .
Delimitations and Limitations
Justification for the Study
Assumptions . .
Definition of Terms .
Selection of the Colleges for Study
Instrumentation . .
Collection of the Data .
Analysis of the Data .
Organization bf the Research Report
II. REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE .
Age of Slowdown . .
Secular Trend . .
Steady State . .
Positive-Negative Effects of a
Decline in Enrollment .
RIF: Reduction in Force .
Legality of RIF . .
How-To's of RIF . .
Impact of RIF . .
The Alternatives: Funding and Internal
Need for Planning and Research .
Relationship of the Literature Reviewed
Development of the Propositions .
Confinement of Sources for the Reviewed
III. RESULTS OF THE STUDY . .
Evolution of the Setting: College A .
to the Study
. . .
Problems . . ... .59
Allocation of Finances . .... .59
Facility Utilization . . 60
Institutional Support Programs . .. 60
Instructional Programs. . .. 61
Personnel . .... .. .. 62
Planning . . .. 63
Counteractive Strategies . .... .63
Summary: College A . . 68
Evolution of the Setting: College B . .. 70
Problems . . 73
Allocation of Finances . 73
Facility Utilization . . 74
Institutional Support Programs . .. 76
Instructional Programs . .... .. 76
Personnel . .... .. .. 78
Planning . . 80
Counteractive Strategies . .. 80
Summary: College B . . 89
Evolution of the Setting: College C .. 91
Problems . ... .. ... 97
Allocation of Finances . .... .97
Facility Utilization . . 98
Institutional Support Programs . .. 99
Instructional Programs .. . .... 100
Personnel . . ... 101
Planning . . 103
Counteractive Strategies . . 103
Summary: College C . . 110
Evolution of the Setting: College D .. 112
Problems . . .. .. .. 116
Allocation of Finances. .. . .116
Facility Utilization . . 117
Institutional Support Programs . .. 118
Instructional Programs . .... .119
Personnel . .... .. .. 120
Planning . . 122
Counteractive Strategies . .. 123
Summary: College D . .... .129
IV. SUMMARY PRESENTATION OF THE DATA . .... 132
V. DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS . .... .149
Restrictive Factors . . 153
Cultural and Social Environment . .. 153
Political and Legal Environment ... 155
Economic Environment . .... 156
Resources of the Institution . .... 157
Summary of Restrictive Factors ...... .... 161
Flexible Factors . . .
Product . . .
Place . .....
Public Information . .
Price . . .
Summary of Flexible Factors . .
VI. CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS .
Conclusions . . .
Recommendations . . .
Implications . . .
A. INTERVIEW GUIDE . .
B. SAMPLE LETTER OF GENERAL INTENT . .
C. SAMPLE LETTER SENT TO CONFIRM PHONE CONVERSATIONS
D. SAMPLE LETTER SENT ONE WEEK PRIOR TO VISIT TO
RECONFIRM INTERVIEW APPOINTMENT . .
E. SAMPLE LETTER SENT TO THANK PARTICIPANTS
FOR INTERVIEW . . .
F. KEOUGH INDICATOR SURVEY SCALE . .
G. PERTINENT QUESTIONS WHICH MIGHT BE ASKED BY
SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS TO HELP IDENTIFY THE
SIGNALS OF ENROLLMENT DECLINE . .
H. FINANCIAL WARNING SIGNALS . .
I. RETRENCHMENT POLICY, COLLEGE C . .
J. RETRENCHMENT POLICY, COLLEGE D . .
REFERENCES . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . .
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE IMPACT OF ENROLLMENT DECLINE UPON SELECTED
FLORIDA COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Adelbert John Purga, III
Chairman: James L. Wattenbarger
Major Department: Educational Administration and Supervision
The purpose of this study was to study administrative response
strategies to unusual enrollment decline in selected community colleges
in Florida. Four Florida community colleges that had experienced signif-
icant enrollment decline from the 1975-1976 academic year to the 1976-
1977 academic year were selected for this study based on: membership in
the Florida Community College Inter-Institutional Research Council, size
as determined by generation of full-time equivalent units, geographic
location, and size of the service area population. Eighty-nine personal
interviews were conducted at the four colleges to ascertain the personnel
perceptions of the enrollment decline, problems created, and counteractive
strategies implemented to cope with the decline. The president, selected
deans and administrators, and selected faculty were interviewed during
January and February, 1979.
Information was obtained either to confirm or not to confirm 10
propositions generated from a review of the related literature. The
propositions confirmed include the following, that where there was en-
1. Pre-planned counteractive strategies were implemented.
2. Retraining programs were implemented rather than retrenchment.
3. Retrenchment policies were participatively developed.
4. More emphasis was placed on filling full-time faculty vacancies
with part-time faculty than with full-time faculty.
5. The instructional areas maintained a high funding priority.
6. Occupational program enrollment declined the least amount.
7. Management information systems became utilized to a greater degree
as compared to pre-enrollment decline levels.
8. The instructional programming was comprised of a wider range of
educational services as compared to the pre-enrollment decline situation.
The propositions not confirmed include the following, that where
there was enrollment decline:
1. There was retrenchment if counteractive strategies were not
implemented prior to the enrollment decline.
2. Early retirement incentive programs were utilized to increase
natural attrition of staff.
The following recommendations were developed from the data collected
from the four colleges visited:
1. State policies should be inaugurated to assist in the development
of management alternatives and strategies to cope with significantly
decreased college budgets.
2. The Florida Community College Funding Formula should be realigned
so that a change in the enrollment configuration, such as an in-
crease in student headcount and a decrease in full-time equivalent
unit generation, will not erode the instructional programming due
to a budget decrease.
3. Community colleges should place more emphasis on training persons
to deal with decreasing enrollments rather than increasing enroll-
ments. This is to include management information systems and
4. Procedures to increase the accuracy of enrollment projections should
be developed. Decision makers should have greater lead-time
between personnel decisions and the determination of accurate
enrollment levels and budgetary repercussions.
5. Community college productivity models should be researched, developed,
and implemented at each Florida community college. This should
include the development of systems to determine resource flexibility
ranges within each college.
6. Criteria for the establishment of retrenchment policies should
be researched, developed, and implemented at each Florida community
college. Retrenchment policies must include Affirmative Action
plans on both moral and legal grounds.
7. Personnel evaluations should be developed with a purpose of their
own. They should not be a factor considered in retrenchment strat-
egies since this combination would lead to extensive demoralization
of all personnel. The purpose of retrenchment as contrasted with
personnel evaluations is to align college expenses with income, and
not to eliminate less desirable personnel.
8. Influences which cause individuals to select the Florida early
retirement system should be studied. The possibility of early
retirement being used to increase the natural attrition rate may
be beneficial under circumstances involving reduction in force.
One of the major problems to confront public educational systems
during the 1980's and 1990's has been identified as declining enroll-
ments (Boulding, 1975, p. 5). During the past 100 years a consider-
able proportion of the human race, particularly in the United States,
enjoyed growth in almost all facets of life. Continuous growth in
population, per capital real income, and the gross national product
accommodated educational institutions to the growth (Nolte, 1976a, p. 28).
When the era of growth came to an end, as evidenced by the enrollment
decline in elementary schools in the mid-1970's, adjustments in
administrators' cogitating, academic habits, standards of decision
making, and in the institutions per se were necessitated (Rodekohr
& Rodekohr, 1974, p. 621). The key question was how to respond to the
problems created by an enrollment decline.
The conflicting pressures of a resource decline and The need for
priorities to maintain the academic quality forced colleges and
universities to consider program and/or institutional modification.
The income of colleges was largely determined by the number of students
served. Declining enrollment equaled Ieclining resources.
During the 1970's, community colleges experienced stress asso-
ciated with declining enrollment problems (Alm, Ehrle, & Webster,
1977, p. 153). The notion of -rhe impact of stress was emphasized by
Miller (1965), who cited Le Chatelier's work. "A stable system under
stress will move in the direction which tends to minimize the stress"
(p. 225). An examplewasa decrease in the state funding (input) would
necessitate an increased level of information (input) to determine
the optimum use for the limited resources. Hearn (1958) noted, "After
any disturbances a system tends to re-establish a steady state" (p.
44). The community college and its components would be expected to
seek inputs to maintain survival. Thus, there would be a reluctance
to cut any programs because a portion of the components would have
been eliminated. This study was to determine the actions taken by the
community colleges due to the stress of an enrollment decline. Further,
the actions were described so that other institutions experiencing
stress will be able to choose actions perceived as most beneficial
in establishing equilibrium of the system.
To varied degrees, all groups in the academic community were
affected by enrollment decline. Enrollment decline had often inter-
fered with the ability of an institution to accomplish its goals
(Cutler, 1975; Nolte, 1976a; Silber, 1977; & Sussman, 1977). Budgets
for instructional materials were often among the first eliminated;
thus students may have received fewer instructional units, each costing
more (Brodinsky, 1975). Martin (1977) suggested that in the United
States, close to 65,000 teachers' services were terminated in the
spring of 1977, primarily due to declining enrollments. Keough (1975)
offered the following comment on the impact of dwindling enrollments:
Dwindling enrollments usually produce a ripple-in-the-pond
effect: One toss of the pebble causes countless concentric
wavelets. As the number of pupils decline, so does the
need for teachers, and classrooms are filled to less
than potentiality, the demand for supervisors, principles,
and other administrators narrows. With the tapering need
for personnel and space, fewer buildings are required.
As offered by the preceding authors, the aspects of a decline in
enrollment pervaded the institution. In 1978, a review of the
literature indicated that information concerning enrollment decline
and the counteractive strategies implemented in community college had
not been thoroughly studied. Theoretical propositions concerning the
milieu of the relationship had not been adequately investigated in the
community college setting. General knowledge existed about problems
in allocation of finances, facility utilization, institutional
support programs, instructional programs, personnel, and planning;
but the magnitude of the problems in terms of the impact of the
problems on the counteractive strategies implemented was unknown.
Statement of the Problem
The problem of this study was to determine the problems as-
sociated with enrollment decline in selected community colleges and
to identify the counteractive strategies that had been used by the
colleges either to avoid or to minimize the problems inherent in such
decline situations. The focus of the investigation was on problems
created by enrollment decline, counteractive strategies utilized by
the selected community colleges, and future implications of the data
collected. Answers to the following questions were sought:
1. What were the nature, implications, direct results, and
indirect results of the problems identified by interviewees
as being associated with enrollment decline?
Problem areas include: allocation of finances,
facility utilization, institutional support programs,
instructional programs, personnel, and planning.
2. What counteractive strategies were utilized by
selected community colleges, to counteract the
difficulties created by the problems?
3. What were the implications of the data for future
efforts to deal with enrollment decline in community
Propositions Developed for the Effect of Declining Enrollment
Once answers to the above mentioned questions were received and
contemplated, propositions were scrutinized for confirmation or lack
of confirmation. These propositions were developed from the review
of the literature and when confirmed or unconfirmed, represented
verification or lack of verification of the perceptions found in the
literature review as compared to the state of the art as determined
through the interview process.
Ten statements of inquiry were deliberated. These statements
were that where there was enrollment decline:
1. Pre-planned counteractive strategies were implemented.
2. There was retrenchment if counteractive strategies
were not implemented prior to the enrollment decline.
3. Retraining programs were implemented rather than
4. Retrenchment policies were participatively developed.
5. More emphasis was placed on filling full-time faculty
vacancies with part-time faculty than with full-time
6. The instructional area maintained a high funding
7. Occupational program enrollment declined the least
8. Early retirement incentive programs were utilized to
increase natural attrition of staff.
9. Management information systems became utilized to a
greater degree as compared to pre-enrollment decline
10. The instructional programming were comprised of a
wider range of educational services as compared to the
pre-enrollment decline situation.
Delimitations and Limitations
The following were observed in the conduct of the case study.
1. This study was confined to those four community
colleges in the Florida System and members of the
Florida Community Junior College Inter-Institutional
Research Council that had experienced an enrollment
decline from the 1975-1976 academic year to the
1976-1977 academic year. Further restrictions were
size of the college, size of the service area, and
2. This study was confined to interviews using a
researcher developed interview guide (See Appendix A).
3. This study was confined to an examination of counter-
active strategies as revealed through a review of the
4. Analysis of the data was confined to inspection,
because of the nature of the external validity no
statistical analysis was carried out.
5. The findings of the proposed investigation may
have significance to community colleges similar in
clientele, purpose, structure, and services offered,
to the selected community colleges included in the
6. The ex post facto design had an inherent weakness
in that cause and effect statements regarding the
relationship of enrollment decline to the counter-
active strategies implemented by the selected
community colleges were interpretations based on
Justification for the Study
A major consequence of this study, as intended, was to serve as
a link between the concepts of theory regarding counteractive strategies
and the existence of the counteractive strategies in the reality of
the community college. When addressing the issues of the skills needed
by administrators to deal with decline, Boulding (1975) offered:
Present education administrators have grown in a period
of rapid growth and have been selected presumably because
they are well adjusted to growth and capable of dealing with
it. Perhaps the most serious immediate problem facing educa-
tion is that many skills that were highly desirable during the
last thirty years may no longer be needed in the next thirty
years. One of education's first priorities, therefore, should
be to develop a new generation of academic administrators who
are skilled in the process of adjusting to decline. Yet we
know so little about decline that we are not even sure what
these skills are. I would like to see institutions, workshops,
and courses all over the country in the creative management
of decline. (p. 5)
In an effort to contribute to the available knowledge in the field
of educational administration, the study concentrated on program and/or
institutional modification and reallocation of resources as a means of
institutional survival. One aspect of this study was to generate implica-
tions for a selected set of strategies that might be useful to community
college administrators in adjusting to an enrollment decline. In "The
Management of Decline: Problems, Opportunities, and Research Questions,"
Berman and McLaughlin (1978) presented the ability to change as the key
to dealing with declining enrollments:
"Solutions" to the demographic, political, economic and
bureaucratic issues may imply fundamental changes in how
a district organizes its internal structures and processes
and allocates its resources to adapt to changing environ-
mental and institutional conditions. Therefore, policy
and research should confront the basic issue: are school
districts willing to adopt significant changes in the way
they manage their affairs and do they have the capacity
to effectively manage these changes? (p. 315)
Another reason for this investigation was that a majority of the
previous research efforts in the enrollment decline area had been concen-
trated in the elementary and secondary levels (American Association of School
Administrators, 1974; American School Board Journal, "An ugly new malady,"
1975; Brown, 1970; Cutler, 1975; Keough, 1975; Martin, 1977; Nolte, 1976b;
Sprenger and Schultz, 1974; ard Thomas, 1977). Of the studies that
focused on the higher education milieu, some pointed to a need for
investigation (Boulding, 1975); proposed that faculty anxiety may
have been reduced if the who should go, who should stay problem (in
times of reduction in force) was internalized by the sharing of
information, on assumptions, procedures, and data, widely and freely
(Alm, Ehrle, & Webster, 1977); and suggested that some programs
initiated or expanded to counteract the enrollment decline often
required highly trained personnel or expensive facilities, thus consumed
a great deal of resources (Keough, 1975).
Finally, the study was justified as stated by the need for
institutional planning. Gardner (1968) professed:
One of the major problems facing education is the
need for improvement of our procedures for Institutional
Planning--in times of growing or declining enrollments.
Explicit in the above observations by Boulding, Alm et al., Keough,
and Gardner, was the idea that the need for efficacious planning
emerged as the essential defense against the difficulties associated
with enrollment decline. Therefore, through a study of enrollment
decline at the selected community colleges, a comprehension of the
complexities involved in the limitation of resources was sought.
The management of contraction will challenge the most
able and the best; it will demand a keener perspective
of available resources; and it will require a change
in the societal mind-set from bigger and better to
smaller and more selective. And as we develop expertise
in managing and directing planning for contraction, the
leadership requirements will demand an exploration into
fields of study such as the science of contraction
management. (Keough, 1978, p. 365)
For the purpose of this study the following assumptions will be
1. The procedures used achieved the purposes of the study.
2. The instruments used in the study yielded valid and
3. Factors were identified that had relationship to
4. Community colleges made some tentative adjustments
to cope with the effects of enrollment decline.
Definition of Terms
Community college. An educational institution which offers
courses and/or programs confined to the first two years of post high
school education. The programs may encompass occupational, technical,
community, and/or university parallel educational concentration. The
institution is supported by public tax funds and governed by an elected
or politically appointed board.
Counteractive strategies. A term that refers to plans of action
implemen-ed or considered by the leaders of an institution to cope
with the problems associated with enrollment decline.
Enrollment decline. A term that represents an actual decrease in
the fundable units generated by an institution. The community colleges
included in the study experienced a decline in fundable units between
the 1975-1976 academic year and the 1976-1977 academic year. The
terms "enrollment decline," 'decline in enrollment," and "decline"
were used interchangeably in the study.
Equilibrium. A term that represents a condition in which all
counteracting influences are cancelled resulting in a balanced-stable
Finances. A term that represents the money and other assets of
Flexible factors. A term that represents those elements that
the administrators manipulated to increase institutional adaptability
and/or counter the restrictive factors in the long run.
Instructional support programs. The following definition was
accepted for Institutional support programs: "This function includes
those activities within the institution that provide support to other
functions and departments" (Community College Management Information
System Procedures Manual, 1977, p. 2.19).
Instructional programs. The following definition was accepted
for Instructional programs:
This function includes all formally organized activities
designed for the purpose of transmitting knowledge, skills,
and attitudes; i.e., activities carried out for the express
purpose of eliciting some measures of "educational change"
in the learner or group of learners. (Community College
Management Information System Procedures Manual, 1977, p. 2.7)
Problems associated with enrollment decline. A term that represents
a reaction in the status quo of an institution due to a decrease in
the fundable units. A decrease in the fundable units causes a decrease
in funding. A decrease in status quo of funding or funding projections
may cause a reaction with the status quo of the people and tenents
of the institution.
Resources. This term refers to the inputs needed to facilitate
the functions of an institution in relation to the desired objectives.
Resource allocation. The following definition was accepted for
Resource allocation: "The process of assigning or appropriating
resources among the various components of an educational institution'
(McAfee, 1972, p. 12).
Restrictive factors. A term that represents those elements that
the administrators had little, if any adaptability in manipulation
due to negative repercussions or lack of actual control.
Retrenchment or reduction in force (RIF). The following defini-
tion was accepted for reduction in force:
To reduce, cut, trim down to size; often used as a verb,
as in "falling enrollments and rising costs forced the
school board to RIF half the staff." Slang: bust, pink-
slip, fire. Antonyms: increase, expand, promote, and
elevate. (Nolte, 1976b, p. 26)
Steady state. The following definition was accepted for steady
state: "Constant ratio among components of the system" (Hearn, 1958,
System. The following definition was accepted for system: "A
set of elements standing in interaction" (Bertalanffy, 1956, p. 3).
Operationally, the community college was the system in the study.
The investigation was essentially ex post facto in nature. This
refers to the variate (enrollment decline) already having occurred,
and an investigation of the criterion variables that have been affected.
The variate was explored in retrospect, through the exploratory field
study technique and a thorough review of the related literature.
Kerlinger (1964) presented the exploratory field study as having
three main purposes:
1. To discover significant variables in the field situation.
2. To discover relations among variables.
3. To lay a groundwork for later, more systematic, and
vigorous testing of hypotheses.
Kerlinger continued: "The realism of field strategies is obvious.
Of all types of studies, they are the closest to real life. There can
be no claim of artificiality here" (p. 389). In the following sections
selection of the colleges, instrumentation, collection of data, and
analysis of data were discussed.
Selection of the Colleges for Study
The colleges selected for study were members of the Florida
Community Junior College Inter-Institutional Research Council. Data
were obtained about enrollments for all the colleges for the 1973-1974
academic year to the 1977-1978 academic year period from the Division
of Community Colleges. These data showed that the greatest number of
community colleges (nine), experienced an annual decrease in fundable
full-time equivalent units generated from the 1975-1976 academic year
to the 1976-1977 academic year (see Table 1.1).
The Actual and Percentage Decline in Full-time Equivalent Unit
Generation from the 1975-1976 Academic Year to the
1976-1977 Academic Year at Nine Florida
Actual Decline in Full- Percent
College time Equivalent Units Decline
A 21.6 2.1
B 527.8 2.9
C 298.8 3.4
D 259.3 0.8
E 154.5 9.6
F 76.4 2.9
G 108.6 3.0
H 748.5 10.6
1 11.4 0.5
Moreover, the writer's committee felt that if possible, a mix
of these enrollment decline colleges should reflect difference in
size, rural-urban communities, size of the service area, and
geographic location. A panel of three persons comprised of Dr. J. L.
Wattenbarger, Director, Institute of Higher Education; Dr. J. M.
Nickens, Associate Director, Inter-Institutional Research Council;
and Dr. R. B. Kimbrough, Professor, Department of Educational
Administration, from the writer's committee was formed to select among
the declining colleges with the four colleges reflecting the following
1. The size of the institution, i.e., one small com-
munity college generating less than 2,000 full-time
equivalent units; two medium sized community colleges
generating between 5,000 and 20,000 full-time equivalent
units; and one large community college generating over
30,000 full-time equivalent units.
2. The size of the service area, i.e., one community
college from a rural service area; two community
colleges from medium sized metropolitan areas with
populations greater than 500,000 and less than
1,000,000; and one community college from a large
metropolitan area with a population in excess of
3. The geographic location of the institution, i.e., one com-
munity college from the northwestern region of the state;
one community college from the northern region of the
state; one community college from the central
region of the state; and one community college
from the southern region of the state.
The personal interview technique was used to collect data
relating to the questions offered in the statement of the purpose
section. The questions to be considered were:
1. What are the nature, implications, direct results,
and indirect results of some of the problems identified
by interviewees as being associated with enrollment
decline? Problem areas include allocation of finances,
facility utilization, institutional support programs,
instructional programs, personnel, and planning.
2. What counteractive strategies were utilized by selected
community colleges to counteract the difficulties
created by the problems?
3. What were some of the implications of the data for
future efforts to deal with enrollment decline in
For the purposes of answering the above questions, an interview
guide (Appendix A) was utilized in the personal interview process.
The items selected for the interview guide were of such a nature that
indeptn responses were received by the researcher. Answers to the
three questions above, accommodated the propositions and
recommendations for future study.
Collection of the Data
The Presidents of College A, College B, College C, and College D
were contacted requesting consent to conduct a study of the enrollment
decline. If approval would not have been granted at any of the above-
mentioned institutions, another community college would have been
selected from the community colleges that also experienced a decline
in the fundable full-time equivalent units from the 1975-1976 academic
year to the 1976-1977 academic year. Once approval was granted,
specific dates were set for the proposed visits.
In November, 1978, three of the four community colleges selected
were visited by the researcher and Dr. J. M. Nickens. Dr. J. L.
Wattenbarger made the initial contact with the fourth college. Letters
were then sent to each of the four community college presidents
verifying the general intent of the study and the process for implementa-
tion of the study (see Appendix B). In December, 1978, phone calls
were made to each institution, designed to pre-schedule the proposed
interview sessions. Letters were then sent to confirm the telephone
conversations (see Appendix C). In January, 1979, brief letters re-
confirming the interview appointments were sent one week prior to the
respective college visited (see Appendix D).
Three groups of individuals were interviewed at each community
college. First, the presidents and a maximum of two vice-presidents
were included to assist in the investigation of the institution-wide
ramifications of enrollment decline. Secondly, the deans, coordinators,
and/cr directors of the instructional and institutional support programs
most directly affected by the enrollment decline, as determined by the
interviews with the president and vice-presidents, were included.
Minimum areas of coverage included two academic programs, personnel,
and student affairs; not more than five areas were selected.
Finally, the chairperson and a 10% (minimum of three) random sample
of the faculty from the department most affected by the decline were
interviewed. The department studied was selected based on the decline
in aggregate fundable units generated per department from the 1975-1976
academic year to the 1976-1977 academic year.
Two campuses at each of the three multi-campus community colleges
were visited. If the aggregate full-time equivalent units decreased
from the 1975-1976 academic year to the 1976-1977 academic year at a
campus, it was included in the study. The interviewees at a campus were
selected using the same criteria as used for the college selection.
The one exception was made, that the president and a maximum of two
vice-presidents at a single campus college; rather the provost
and next in authority was interviewed at each selected campus of the
multi-campus colleges in addition to the president, vice-presidents,
and personnel director at the District Offices. The titles of some
individuals interviewed varied at each college. Judgements were made
by the researcher regarding the alignment of similar positions at the
institution when title inconsistency existed.
Once the interview guide was scrutinized by a committee of
experts, a trial run of the interview guide was conducted at Santa Fe
Community College. The trial run was intended to assist in the
further refinement of the instrument to be implemented.
Comments of each respondent were recorded on the interview guide
by the interviewer. Once the interviews were completed, a letter was
sent to all participants thanking them for their cooperation (see
Appendix E). Based on the data collected through the processes
outlined in the study, a compilation of the problems and counteractive
strategies presumed to be related to the enrollment decline was com-
pleted. Generalizations, conclusions, and recommendations presented
were based only on the data acquired within and related to the community
Analysis of Data
The nature of questions basic to this investigation and the
procedures used to secure the data were most applicable to a presenta-
tion via a narrative-descriptive technique. Fox (1969), offered two
conditions that must co-exist to justify this method, both of which
existed in this instance:
In educational research there are two conditions which
occurring together suggest and justify the descriptive
survey, first, that there is an absense of information
about a problem of educational significance, and secondly,
that the situations which could generate that information
do exist and are accessible to the researcher.(p. 424)
Issues to be discussed in this section include implications of
the enrollment decline on allocation of finances, facility utiliza-
tion, institutional support programs, instructional programs, personnel,
and planning. The evolution of the setting, problems associated with
the enrollment decline, and what counteractive strategies, if any, were
implemented was the format in the presentation of the collected data.
Organization of the Research Report
The investigation was reported in six chapters. Chapter I
included the introduction, statement of the problem, assumptions,
definition of terms, and procedures. The second chapter was the review
of the related literature with the presentation of the problems
and counteractive strategies identified in interviews at the selected
college presented in Chapter III. The fourth chapter included the
summary presentation of the data. Chapter V was the discussion of
the results and in the final chapter, conclusions, recommendations,
and implications were presented.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
The intent in the present chapter was to provide an understanding
of the management of decline with emphasis on educational institutions.
During times of inflation, institutions that had not experienced actual
decline may have experienced an effective resource decline due to the
inherent fiscal constraints of inflation. The declivity had occurred
in enrollment (both actual and in the rate of growth), stature, and
power of influence both politically and fiscally.
The 1950's, 1960's, and early-1970's were identified as the
growth era in education. In the mid-1970's the demise of one era and
the debut of another were evidenced. In this new era, decline in enroll-
ment diffused throughout the educational industry.
The community college as a system, ideally was depicted by Mortorana
and Kuhns (1975) as an open system which was capable of adaptation to
maintain survival through communication with and feedback from the external
environment. Earn (1958) suggested that positive feedback would generate
little, if any, change and negative feedback would generate system modifi-
cation to maintain survival. When negative feedback was received, such
as a decrease in full-time equivalent unit revenue, the system would under-
take counteractive strategies to modify the system and increase the
probability of system survival. When the system was threatened, the
system would eventually become open to enable operational adaptation and
minimize the stress. The magnitude of the threats to the system were
related to the levels of on-going transmission of energies such as
communication, between the college and the environment. Ideally, system
modification was implemented, thus threats to the system were minimized.
The ability of the system to modify dynamically the operational charac-
teristics was in direct relation to the degree of system openness.
The significance of planning in general, forecasting, and the manage-
ment of manpower planning were offered by Deckard and Lessey (1975) and
Lyons (1969) as critical elements enabling an institution to survive
decline. Chapter II deals with the internal activities that existed in
preparation for decline and what activities might have been used in the
absence of such planning. The investigator found little literature
relating directly to enrollment decline at the community college level.
Due to the limited material available regarding enrollment decline in
community colleges, the heuristic nature of the study will contribute to
the existing body of knowledge in the enrollment decline area. As research
was conducted to answer existing questions, the researcher often raised
new questions. This "corkscrew effect," of the continuing search for
knowledge, represented the major motivation of this study.
The related literature reviewed encompassed the available literature
regarding community colleges, supplemented with the discussion of
enrollment decline as it related to the elementary and secondary schools.
Prior to the fall of 1978, elementary and secondary schools experienced
the decline to a much greater degree than the community colleges. The
review of the literature was divided into six major segments: Age of
Slowdown; RIF: Reduction in Force; The Alternatives: Funding and
Internal Efficiency; Need for Planning and Research; Relationship of
the Literature Reviewed to the Study; and, Confinement of Sources for
the Reviewed Literature.
Age of Slowdown
The mid-1970's ushered in a new era aptly tagged the "Age of
Slowdown." Boulding (1975) asserted:
A slowdown means that a larger proportion of the society
is going to undergo decline in one form or another.
At any one time some segments of a society are increasing
and some are declining. In a generally expanding society,
the distribution is pushed over to the increase end, so
that only a few sections of the circle decline. In a
society where growth is slowing a much larger proportion
will be experiencing decline and in a stationary society
roughly half the society will be experiencing growth.
Education is likely to be the first major segment of the
economy to suffer a decline, and management of this decline
may very well set the tone for the management of the
general slowdown. (p. 5)
Rodekohr and Rodekohr (1974) stated:
The ironic circumstances that caused the educational
institution of the fifties and sixties to adapt to growth,
and suddenly the mid-seventies were faced with a marked
decrease in the fertility rate. (p. 621)
Nolte (1976b) admonished the reader concerning "The red hot issues
involved in education's bear market of the seventies--the bust of our
twenty year boom" (p. 28).
The "red hot" issues, as developed, may have been caused by the
attitude Sussman (1977) expressed as little need to set hard priorities.
There was little need to set hard priorities due to the
acceptance of the value of serving a larger, more heter-
ogeneous population. The effects of Vietnam and the
economic and social dislocation which followed, forced
many communities to consider reducing support for educa-
tion. Ensuing inflation added to the cost of even
maintaining the existing educational structure of
institutions. (p. 38)
Failure of one or more of these institutions represented more
than a real educational loss. Each also typified a real economic
asset to its community. Silber (1977) wrote:
None of these valuable institutions need to be lost, if
the proper preparations are made for the future with energy
and care. These institutions must first prepare them-
selves for inevitable contraction. (p. 16)
Enrollment decline was felt in the Salt Lake City School
Districts in the mid-1970's. Keough (1975) offered this: "Enrollment
plummeted from 43,000 students in the mid-sixties to 27,000 students
in the mid-seventies" (p. 40). Martin (1977 offered these findings:
1. Chicago, 1975-1976: 26,000 Professional staff went
without pay raises; if a 3% pay increase, 1,000 RIFed.
2. Florida, 1975-1976: 5,000 Teachers laid off.
3. New York City, fall of 1973-spring of 1976:
15,000 Professional staff RIFed; those that remained
received no pay raises.
4. Ohio, 1975-1976: School districts out of money;
70,000 students and teachers out of school.
5. Oregon, 1975-1976: Voters wouldn't pass additional
school levies; 9,000 students and teachers out of school.
6. Washington, spring of 1976: In and near Seattle,
5,000 teachers RIFed.
7. Nationally, spring of 1976: 25% of the school
districts in the United States with less than 1,200
students, sent out RIF notices.
8. Nationally, spring of 1976: 35% of the school
districts in the United States with more than 12,000
students, sent out RIF notices. (pp. 23-24)
The enrollment levels in the K-12 public school systems in the
United States declined by 2.6% from the 1970-1971 scholastic year to
the 1975-1976 scholastic year, as can be seen in Table 2.1. The
aggregate enrollment loss was over 1,200,000 students. Kansas and
North Dakota state systems each experienced double digit loss. On the
other hand, Arizona and Florida state systems each experienced the
greatest increase with 9.8% and 8.1%, respectively.
Number of Public School Pupils by State
Number of Students % Change
in thousands in Students
State 1970 1975* 1970-1975
Alabama . .. 805 757 6.0
Alaska . 80 86 + 7.5
Arizona . .. 440 483 + 9.8
Arkansas . .. 463 451 2.6
California . .. 4633 4394 5.2
Colorado . .. 550 563 + 2.4
Connecticut . .. 662 655 1.1
Delaware . 133 129 3.0
District of Columbia .. 146 130 -11.0
Florida . 1428 1544 + 8.1
Georgia . .. .1099 1072 2.5
Hawaii . .... .181 175 3.3
Idaho . 182 186 + 2.2
Illinois . 2357 2278 3.4
Indiana . .... .1232 1177 4.5
Iowa . 660 616 6.7
Kansas . .... .512 446 -12.9
Kentucky . .. 717 695 3.1
Louisiana .... 842 833 1.1
Maine . 245 248 + 1.2
Maryland . 916 887 3.2
Massachusetts .. 1168 1200 + 2.7
Michigan . 2181 2121 2.8
Minnesota . 921 884 4.0
Mississippi . 534 509 4.7
Missouri .... .1040 994 4.4
Montana . .... .177 171 3.4
Nebraska . 329 316 4.0
Nevada . 128 136 + 6.3
New Hampshire .. 159 171 + 7.5
New Jersey . .. 1482 1458 1.6
New Mexico . .. 281 280 0.4
New York .. .. .. 3477 3411 1.9
North Carolina 1192 1169 1.9
North Dakota .. 147 132 -10.2
Table 2.1 (continued)
Number of Students % Change
in thousands in Students
State 1970 1975* 1970-1975
Ohio . .. .2426 2314 4.6
Oklahoma . .. 627 591 5.7
Oregon . 480 473 1.5
Pennsylvania ... 2358 2261 4.1
Rhode Island ... 188 177 5.9
South Carolina ... 638 622 2.5
South Dakota ... 166 153 7.8
Tennessee ... 900 865 3.9
Texas . .. 2840 2762 2.7
Utah . .... .304 304 0.0
Vermont . 103 104 + 0.1
Virginia . .. 1079 1084 + 0.5
Washington ......... 818 779 4.8
West Virginia ... 400 401 0.0
Wisconsin . .. 994 968 2.6
Wyoming . .. 87 85 2.3
Total United States ... .45903 44700 2.6
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, National
Center for Education Statistics, Fall Statistics of Public Schools,
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976. In Odden, A.
and Vincent, P.E., The Fiscal Impacts of Declining Enrollments: A
Study of Declining Enrollments in Four States--Michigan, Missouri,
South Dakota, and Washington. In S. Abramowitz and S. Rosenfeld
(Eds.), Declining enrollments: The challenge of the coming decade.
Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education, U.S. Department
of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1978.
The trends of other institutions (family, religion, economics,
and politics) affect education as suggested by Kimbrough and Nunnery
(1976, pp. 10-11). The orbiting of Sputnik and the subsequent inter-
national repercussions in the 1950's was an example of this institutional
interaction. In addition to the trends of other institutions, the
general attitude of the masses impacted education. The fertility rate
was also an element that education could not ignore. An example of
the cyclical nature of the fertility rate, perhaps contributed to be
the attitudes of the masses, was made visible in the mid-1970's.
During the mid-1940's a baby boom occurred, and lasted until the early-
1950's. These individuals had children which, in aggregate, represented
the boom years for education--until the 1970's. In the mid-1960's to
early-1970's the birth rate began to slow, perhaps as a reaction to
the previous two decades of growth. During the 1977-1978 scholastic
year the results of this slowing of the birth rate, that began in the
mid-1960's, could be evidenced throughout the nation. The community
colleges will be hit in the mid-1980's. The point now becomes clear--
in 1978 the children of the post World War II babies were in the
upper elementary grades and in high school. In the 1980's many of
these individuals will become parents. Based on the sheer size of
this group, another increase in the student census in the mid-1990's
and early years of the twenty-first century was anticipated at the
time of this writing. In the first two decades of the twenty-first
century, following the projected growth, another relative decline was
anticipated, again perhaps due to the reactionary attitudes of tne
Changes in the annual birth rate and the subsequent school age
population directly affected enrollment in the United States educa-
tional system. Figure 2.1, reflects the cyclical nature of the
birth rate, projected in three series. The series were partially
based on the fertility rate, which declined steadily since 1957
(Figure 2.2). The series II projection, which was based on the two
children family, when translated into projected enrollments via U.S.
Bureau of Census and age-ratios from the 1970 census, indicated an
enrollment increase for grades K-8 and continued decline for grades
9-12 in 1990 (Table 2.2). The implications of this 1990 projection
for the community colleges were that the individuals in grades K-8 in
1990 will be of college age in the late-1990's and early twenty-first
century. The series II projections also reflected this decline with
the number of individuals in the eighteen to twenty-four year age
bracket, easing in the mid-1990's and another relative decline occur-
ring between 2010 and 2015 (Table 2.3).
Experience had shown that enrollment decline and fiscal scrutiny
did not emerge last year. In 1930, the economy was extremely recessed
(sluggish turnover of goods and services creating heavy unemployment).
This in turn affected the taxing ability of the community. In Cutler's
article (1975): "How Schools Lived Through That Real Depression of
the Thirties," the author detailed the "ripple effect" that resulted
in motivating one school board member to advance the following recom-
mendations for tightening belts:
1. Refuse to compete with other districts for the
gratification of pride.
2. Carefully analyze need and ability of taxpayers
to support the school program.
o o @P O
O 0 O#
SERI ES !
J. I 1 1 1
1960 1970 1980
Fiscal Year (beginning July 1)
Total Births in the United States, 1940 to 1973, and Projected
from 1974 to 2000
Source: U.S. Bureau of Census. Current Population Reports. Series p-25.
No. 601, Tables 1 and 2. In Davis, R. G., & Lewis, G. M., The Democrachic
Background to Changing Enrollments and School Needs. In S. Abramowitz &
S. Rosenfeld (Eds.), Declining enrollments: The challenge of the coming
decade. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education, U.S. Department
of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1978.
if 1 0
Fertility Rates in the United
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics for the
United States, 1971, I. Natality. Rockville, Maryland: 1975. In Davis,
R.G. & Lewis, G. M., The Demographic Background to Changing Enrollments
and School Needs. In S. Abramowitz & S. Rosenfeld (Eds.), Declining
enrollments: The challenge of the coming decade. Washington, D.C.:
National institute of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
Blacks and other races
Total, all races
Projected Enrollments in Grades K-12 in the United States for
Selected Years, 1980, 1985, 1990
Enrollment in Year (in thousands)
Grade 1980 1985 1990
K 2,431 2,950 3,172
1 3,179 3,783 4,200
2 3,194 3,579 4,095
3 3,416 3,463 4,074
4 3,546 3,250 3,902
5 3,611 3,226 3,879
6 3,485 3,124 3,677
7 3,447 3,181 3,519
8 3,487 3,330 3,353
Total, K-8 29,796 29,885 33,871
9 3,552 3,480 3,191
10 3,657 3,409 3,050
11 3,501 3,083 2,765
12 3,619 3,108 2,870
Total, 9-12 14,329 13,080 11,876
SOURCE: Series II projection of the United States Bureau of Census,
1970. Davis, R. G. and Lewis, G. M., The Demographic Background to
Changing Enrollments and School Needs. In S. Abramowitz and S.
Rosenfeld (Eds.), Declining enrollments: The challenge of the coming
decade. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education, U.S.
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1978.
The Estimated Number of Persons Eighteen to Twenty-Four,
Actual for 1960, 1965, 1970; Estimated for 1975 on.
Year in thousands
Series II: 1960 16,128
SOURCE: Fishlow, H., Demography and Declining Enrollments.
In S. Abramowitz and S. Rosenfeld (Eds.), Declining enrollments:
The challenge of the coming decade. Washington, D.C.: National
Institute of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, 1978.
3. Avoid issuing bonds when possible.
4. Adjust salaries to value of services.
5. Work for more sane laws.
6. Remember that a teaching certificate does not
guarantee teaching ability.
7. Curtail the number of subjects in the curricula.
8. Fill classes to capacity.
9. Question the advisability of free transportation.
10. Consolidate school districts only after full
consideration of costs and benefits.
11. Remember that the school board must be ultra-
conservative or school costs will increase
rapidly. (p. 38)
In an article which appeared in the American School Board Journal
(1975), a parallel surfaced that haunted the educational industry:
Fat years for public education--hallmark of the recent
past--seem an eternity ago. Lean years--upon us now--
scathe budgets, destroy designs for present and future
excellence. These difficult times are rooted in a
juxtaposition of inflation on the one hand and recession
on the other. The condition has inserted a new noun in
American jargon. This word is called STAGFLATION. (p. 23)
Recession referred to surpluses in all of, or sectors of, the
market place which created unemployment, thus further created surpluses.
Presumably prices should fall. Inflation, on the other hand, referred
to shortages in all of, or sectors of, the market place which created
the bidding up of prices, thus fewer units were purchased, presumably
easing the purchasing pressure on the shortages.
Traditional tactics were to use inflationary measures to fight
recession and vice versa. Especially if only one or the other existed
at any one time. However, when both existed, as in stagflation, both
may have run rampant and become extremely difficult to control. An
example was appropriate at this point. The government offered a
$100 tax rebate to each taxpayer to combat the surpluses of recession
(buy surpluses and decrease the unemployment). Instead, the recipients
spent the $100 in a shortaged area. Not only did that do very little
to ease the recession but the already high prices had just been boosted
Daily operations in school districts were tied directly to the
components of stagflation. When education policy-makers and school
administrators struggled to function as normally as possible within the
confines of fixed budgets, they understandably whittled first at the
biggest cost category--teachers' salaries.
As a school board member recommended the necessity of tightening
the belts in the 1930's--the administrators of the 1970's also reacted.
American Federation of Teacher President, Albert Schanker (AASA, 1974),
predicted: "At the rate things are going now, by the end of this
decade there may be one unemployed teacher for every one employed"
(p. 23). Schanker identified an issue whicn had been espoused by
Brodinsky (1975). The instructional area had suffered dramatically.
An informal survey conducted by BrodincKy revealed:
1. Budgets for instructional materials are among the
first to be slashed when the financial crunch con-
fronts a school district.
2. Students today are receiving fewer units (textbooks,
workbooks, reference books) and boards of education
are paying more for each unit.
3. Spokesmen in the instructional materials industry
forecast disaster for learning programs if the
percentage now spent for materials drops too much
4. The textbook publishing industry has absorbed
sledgehammer blows resulting from rising costs
5. Development of new types of teaching and learning
aids has been pushed back until economic conditions
improve. (p. 36)
Daly (1977) differentiated steady state economics and traditional
growth economics in that steady state allowed qualitative change
rather than quantitative change. Steady state economics was defined
by Daly as:
An economy with constant stocks of people and artifacts,
maintained at some desired, sufficient levels by low rates
of maintenance. If we use "growth" to mean quantitative
change, and "development" to mean qualitative change, then
we may say that a Steady State Economy develops but does
not grow. Just as the planet earth, of which the human
economy is a subsystem, develops but does not grow. All
inputs are directed to maintenance and qualitative change.
Daly also maintained that a slowdown, or the absence of economic
growth, provided an opportunity to learn to live in a steady state
balance prior to reaching the optimum limits of the economy. "Other-
wise we would not know how to stay at the optimum once we have arrived"
(p. 51). Daly further described three main principles for making the
transition from a growth state to a steady state. These principles
respected the people as well as the artifacts. The principles were:
1. To provide the necessary social control with a
minimum sacrifice of personal freedom, to provide
macrostability while allowing for microvariability,
to combine the macrostatic with the microdynamic.
2. To maintain considerable slack between the actual
environment load and the maximum carrying capacity.
3. To build in the ability to tighten constraints
gradually and to begin from existing initial
conditions rather than unrealistically assuming a
clean slate. (p. 51)
Regarding Daly's first principle, macrostability referred to the
system in a relatively aggregate constant of components, while micro-
variability referred to the potential modification of the components
yet maintaining the relatively constant aggregate; no growth, but
refinement of the effectiveness of the system. This microvariability
within a macrostability represented the implication of this investiga-
tion. As resources in aggregate declined,the combination of the
resources within an institution became critical. The strategies imple-
mented to slow decline and accommodate stability were vital to the
President J. Cleek Johnson County Community College, whiles
presenting a forum at the 1978 Annual American Association of Community
and Junior Colleges Conference in Atlanta, offered pertinent remarks
regarding the institution as it entered steady state. Dr. Cleek
stated that as an institution reached a steady state, the institutional
administration often began to look at other things than those when in
a growth state. The following were offered: more accountability;
financial concern; continual review and striving for achievement of
mission statement; small financial issues became magnified; must be
comprehensive and continually monitor and provide for the community;
academic and occupational areas should be coordinated closely; curricula
decisions must come from academic need and community commitment--not
administrative push; do not react or repeat or copy other institutions,
but innovate; maximization of all opportunities; and the elimination
of problem areas. These suggestive attitudes, as promulgated by
Dr. Cleek, were unfortunately not reflected in a Colorado study
conducted in 1974. Rather this was learned, as Rodekohr and Rodekohr
Seventy-three of 181 school districts were declining.
In these declining districts ten percent of the respective
superintendents did not know their own districts had
experienced enrollment decline. A vast majority of the
superintendents felt that their communities reacted to
decline in enrollment as automatically maintaining or
improving the quality of education, thus are complacent
about the decline. Superintendents of large districts
were less concerned with the decline than superintendents
in small districts, and that there existed an ignorance
of institutional history, particularly when the turnover
of administrators was high. (pp. 621-623)
School systems confronted with a decline must respond in an
efficient and effective manner before the enrollment decline became
Positive-Negative Effects of a Decline in Enrollment
Rodekohr and Rodekohr (1974) suggested that this decline can
result in positive effects:
If educators are to adapt to and face the challenge
of this change, they must acquire a new mode of
thinking and planning. The greatest opportunity is to
utilize the decline for better education. (p. 621)
Keough (1975) also offered positive effects of a decline situation:
The upgrading of educational quality and expansion
of pupil opportunity should be the first natural
result of lowered enrollment, through more individualized
instruction, new programs and lowering of pupil-teacher
ratios. (p. 41)
Busch (1975) supplemented Rodekohrs' (1974) and Keough's (1975)
positive effects of decline in enrollment. The advantages offered by
1. Reduced rate of educational spending.
2. Cut to a more personal scale the size of large
3. Make building conversions which provide better
plant facilities--especially in older schools.
The author failed to mention any effects of a decline on the people,
merely the organization.
The disadvantages of decline keyed into the realm of human
attitudes. Boulding (1975) offered three major disadvantages as-
sociated with declining industries:
1. Rising age of the labor force.
2. Decreasing ability of management
3. Deterioration of morale
Each of these factors are militants against successful
adjustment, particularly if there are no organizational
connections to expanding sectors of the society. (p. 38)
RIF: Reduction in Force
The instructional area was affected during the 1970's in such
proportions that Reduction in Force (RIF) became an unwanted yet es-
sential strategy for the survival of many institutions.
Nolte (1976b) offered a curt definition of Reduction in Force
to reduce, cut, trim down to size; often used as a verb,
as in 'falling enrollments and rising costs forced the
school board to RIF half the staff.' Slang: bust,
pinkslip, fire. Antonyms: 'increase, expand, promote,
elevate. (p. 25)
Dealing with RIF became an educational administrator's responsi-
bility in the mid-1970's, necessitated by the era of contraction in
public education--less money and fewer students.
Legality of RIF
Many RIF battles end in courts since so few districts or
states have rules about what to do when RIF becomes
necessary. Only thirteen states have specific regulations
covering dismissal procedures for RIFed teachers, although
several state legislatures are considering laws that would
set seniority, certification, and competency guidelines
to be followed during RIF. (Martin, 1977, p. 25)
Martin also offered bleak implications regarding tenure, "Some
boards and judges are saying that RIF is a special case that may take
precedent over contracts and past practices" (p. 25).
Alexander (1972) offered Financial Exigency (Levitt vs. Board of
Trustees of Nebraska State Colleges) as a legal element that may
have affected the security of tenure during RIF. Alexander further
Tenure is no guarantee of an absolute right to con-
tinued employment. Institutions may, according to the
terms of the tenure agreement, dismiss teachers for
such reasons as FINANCIAL EXIGENCY or REDUCTION IN
ENROLLMENT. (p. 38)
How-To's of RIF
If the need to RIF became a reality, a number of authors professed
methods of the How-To's.
Nolte (1976b) offered seven bits of advice on the "How-To's" of
1. Do it before you have to.
2. If you're already facing a RIF situation, begin
"biting that bullet" by making sure your district
is letting the natural attrition of staff have its
3. At about the time the preliminary cutting begins,
you'll want to make your position on RIF clear to
employees and community members.
4. Make sure your district declares that RIFed
teachers' services have been terminated because of
thd district's financial problems not because of
5. Your attorney and consultant must make absolutely sure
that your policy is within the constraints of state
laws (including those on tenure, retirement and
federal legislation, including that pertaining to
affirmative action programs, and sex, age, and race
discrimination in employment).
6. After RIF policies are in place, you may want to sit
down with your local teachers' union and make RIF a
bargainable vehicle. However, you may not--depending
upon all other RIF matters. This decision must be
compatible with the situation in your local schools.
7. Adopt RIF policies (including bargaining agreements)
before they are needed. (pp. 27, 45)
Thomas (1977) considered the educational industry fortunate in
that these effective ways of dealing with RIF were developed:
1. Staff for Mid-Year Projections--
The mid-year staffing ratio is the mean ratio for
the school year. Thus, the district would have a
larger ratio during the first semester and a smaller
ratio during the second semester.
2. Adopt an early retirement plan.
3. Terminate for cause.
4. Work with neighboring school district.
5. Develop a trained corps of substitutes.
6. Have everyone become a project writer.
7. Train secondary teachers for elementary positions. (p. 15)
The tactic of mid-year projections assisted the administrator in
gaining money and equitable staffing resources for schools that lost
students such as high schools and schools that did not such as
elementary. Declining enrollment districts did not need the burden
of unsatisfactory teachers.
Other guidelines were professed by Brown (1970), Sprenger and
Schultz (1974), and AAUP Bulletin, "On institutional problems" (1974).
Alm, Ehrle, and Webster (1977) stated a need for internalization
of who goes-who stays process:
The need for the internalization of who should go and
who should stay would result by sharing information on
assumptions, procedures, and data widely and freely. The
university helps departments anticipate the probable nature
of their allocations. The anxiety generated by this sharing
has at least two consequences. The first is that conscious-
ness is heightened and more faculty members become involved
in the process. The second is that departments likely to
experience reductions can begin to deal with the question
of who stays and who goes. (p. 158)
Alm et al. (1977) also identified an initial avenue for answers
to the who goes-who stays question--the rules and regulations of the
state system. Specific reference was made to the rules and regulations
of the Indiana University Board developed in the mid-sixties:
1. Non-tenured faculty in a given program be released
2. If tenure faculty must be released, a process must
be enjoined to formally declare the involved
3. In reduced programs tenured faculty are released in
reverse order of seniority. (p. 159)
Alm et al. (1977) also delved into the effective realm of RIF
regarding the administrative personnel:
Cut deeply enough to obtain credibility with the faculty
for the total personnel plan. Any plan calling for
numerous cuts among the faculty must substantially
reduce administration as well. (p. 158)
It is important to recognize that reductions are and
will be traumatic with the best of processes. A favorable
avoidable antidote for this is openness, participation,
frankness, and persistent sharing of information. If an
administration becomes defensive or secretive, unnecessary
and counterproductive hostilities will be generated and
released. (p. 159)
Nolte (1976a) professed the Three F test to assist in the deter-
mination of who goes and who stays. This Three F test could have been
employed to show that the teachers you kept were FIRM, FRIENDLY, and FAIR, and,
the author stated, "Those that you let go are loosely organized,
loving but losing, and wouldn't know fair if they met it in the middle
of the teachers' lounge" (p. 30). As defined by Nolte:
FIRMNESS of the marketable variety--the kind that makes
a teacher worth hiring and retaining--must first of all
be consistent from day to day, from mood to mood. It
must be predictable and preadvertised, so that no child
remains unsure whether what he just did will bring down
FRIENDLINESS in essence means that the teacher wishes for
each child his right to succeed, to be recognized for
what he is, and for what he will become. The teacher who
acts pretty much the way a concerned and intelligent parent
would act is the one to retain.
FAIRNESS comes about when, in plain language, the teacher
is fundamentally fair. Synonyms: even-handed, above-board,
honest, reasonable, just, unbiased, honorable. Antonyms:
arbitrary, whimsical, taking advantage of others, crooked.
The bottom line on fairness probably is whether the teacher
treats youngsters as the teacher would want to be treated if
he or she were again a child in school. (p. 30)
Morse (1977) reprehended the dismissal of competent non-tenured
teachers and a merit system should have been considered:
Non-tenured teachers, of course, are the easiest to drop
because they have no legal leverage. But this may be
the wrong decision since, in many cases, these are excel-
lent teachers. The merit system contained five basic
considerations: knowledge of subject matters, control,
effectiveness, growth potential, and personality. Such
systems to be a way to work with tenure because, combined
with the withholding of increments, they might provide a
means of keeping incentive high while pressuring poor
performers out of the system. (pp. 76, 78)
Competition was often associated with morale, incentive, motiva-
tion, and productivity. Diametrically opposed thoughts on competition
were professed by authors of decline. Busch (1975) contended that
"the in-house competition for funds is bad for morale, and that affects
the whole school system" (p. 103). On the other hand, Boulding (1975)
maintained that "the institutional structure most likely to survive
decline is the highly competitive, chaotic, loose market-oriented
structure" (p. 6). The competitive model inferred the added ability
to create and adapt to change.
Impact of RIF
The impact of RIF was far-reaching. Administrators were, from
necessity, thrust into a position of creating alternatives to facilitate
RIF. One of the critical elements when dealing with RIF was the
identification of the enrollment decline prior to its arrival. The
Keough Indicator Survey (see Appendix F) was such a technique.
An American Association of School Administrator's pamphlet (1974,
p. 43) revealed a simple do-it-yourself technique which helped spot-
light an enrollment decline trend long before the magic numbers
appeared as statistically significant. When the Keough Indicator
Survey Scale was used the administrator was required to critically
analyze the schools and community and to draw some conclusions
based upon social, financial,and residential factors. Keough (1975)
recommended policies that may have helped to alleviate the job
security-RIF hassle. These policies covered such points as:
1. Provision for paring expenses to the bone before
RIF of full-time personnel is considered,
2. dates of notification to individuals who will be
3. stipulations for the order in which layoffs will
occur (e.g., non-tenured and quality of service),
4. provisos for preferential considerations for sub-
stitute teaching positions,
5. conditions for preferential consideration in
6. provisions for definition of employee status, and
7. arrangements for retraining or reassignment.
Velvet gloves should be standard attire in
administrator's mental wardrobes as they deal
with the public in these delicate days of
declining enrollments. (p. 41)
Regardless of the existence or nonexistence of these policies,
the administrator was still faced with the day-to-day decisions needed
to effectively continue the institution.
To plan for RIF, AASA (1974), Martin (1977), and Allan (1974)
proposed varied strategies and alternatives for Reduction in Force.
AASA (1974) offered:
1. Moratorium on leave policies to reduce the number
of teachers returning to claim positions.
2. Offer only one or two year termination contracts
to new teachers. (Some states prohibit this policy.)
--ERIP (Early Retirement Incentive Plan)
--METRO (Metro Integration Plans, based on space
4. Institute staffing needs studies before going into
contract negotiations which may call for job
security items in the new contract.
5. Prepare the community and staff for possible teacher
6. Request that teachers planning to retire or leave
the district, file such intention at least a year
in advance whenever possible. (pp. 32-33)
Similar in intent, Martin (1977) picked up on cross-training and
the development of special funds. He assessed:
A competent school board will check out alternatives to
reductions before mailing out RIF notices. If there are
doubts about the board's competence, see if the board
is using these proposals to lessen RIF's severity:
1. Terminate part-time help.
2. Stimulate natural attrition.
3. Offer incentives for early retirement.
4. Cross-train personnel.
5. Go on unpaid furloughs.
6. Develop special funds. (pp. 25-26)
Allan (1974) offered specialization as an ingredient in the work
force that fed RIF, and offered the results of a survey of the larger
school boards in Canada:
In the future, the problem will become more difficult
because of the specialization of teachers in the senior
elementary grades or in secondary schools. The survey
indicated the following tactics:
1. Most surplus teachers can be retrained to teach in
other grades or other subject fields.
2. Some may wish to retrain as para-professionals.
3. Some, particularly vocational teachers, may wish
to retrain for business and industry.
4. Most school boards have developed plans to absorb
surplus teachers in their own operation.
5. The surplus teachers are assigned to full-time
supply teaching (during the absence of regular
teachers) and then assigned to the first appropriate
vacancies on the staff.
6. School boards have seconded, for an indefinite period,
teachers from neighboring boards to fill positions
not available at the teachers' own board. This
arrangement, of course, .would be reciprocated at a
7. Teachers have been assigned temporarily to the
business operation of the board at regular teaching
8. Teachers have been appointed full-time adult educa-
tion or continuing education teachers. This and
part-time assignments can make up the full-time
responsibility. (pp. 16-17)
A Dissertation Abstract International search of the selected
dissertations that were conducted between 1973 and 1978 and were con-
cerned with declining enrollments (Burger, 1977; Casey, 1977;
Chapdelaine, 1977; Clute, 1975; Irvin, 1976; Krabbe, 1977; Melevage,
1975; and Wentworth, 1977), yielded these varied findings:
1. The continuing inflationary state of the economy
has partially cloaked the enrollment decline.
2. During declining enrollments, limited budgets and
resources, the instructional area maintained high
3. Physical olant and equipment have suffered greatly due
to the reduced levels of income inherent with enrollment
4. The need for personnel is in direct relation with the
5. Declining enrollment pervades the nation.
6. Implications of enrollment decline include: increase
need for planning, budget contraction, staff retrench-
ment or transfer, alternative programs (often merger),
and deployment of usable facilities.
7. Some educational inputs produce greater achievement
8. Early retirement programs starting at age sixty have
9. Attrition can be a successful natural means of personnel
10. Open communication, regarding the enrollment decline,
with staff and community will decrease rumors.
11. Surplus facilities can generate income.
12. Reduction in force has a negative impact on morale.
The Alternatives: Funding and Internal Efficiency
Since the early 1970's many educational establishments found
themselves increasingly squeezed between resource scarcities and
rising unit costs. Thus, the educational system pursued two simultaneous
courses of action. First, the institution administrators sought ad-
ditional sources of funding and secondly, improvement of internal
efficiency. Cost analysis was an indispensable tool for the accomplish-
ment of the second objective, Coombs and hallak (1372) maintained:
Effective educational cost analysis involves much more
than simply knowing the right analytical methods. It
also involves choosing the appropriate tactics and
maintaining good human relations; knowing where and how
to judge the reliability of different sources; allocating
your time judiciously; avoiding certain conceptual and
accounting pitfalls; and skillfully arranging trade-offs
between economic, pedagogical, and other considerations.
In addition to cost analysis other techniques of scrutinizing
costs were offered by Brown (1975) in his article "Seventy-four ways
to cut costs in your school district" (p. 29-35). The author
presented 41 methods of cutting costs in an instructional program,
10 methods of cutting costs in a central office, 6 methods of
cutting costs in a food service program, and 17 methods of cutting
costs in a computer operation.
If the declining enrollment situation could not have been
halted, administrators found themselves with more space than needed.
Abandonment was rarely considered as a course of action, due to the
economic value of the property.
Three choices of action were promulgated by Leggett (1977):
"The courses of action that typically presented themselves were to
redistribute students, find someone to lease the space, mothball a
portion or all of the building" (p. 27). Leggett offered brief
Redistribution entails equalizing the number of students
amona schools within the system. Then there is the
prospect of leasing space to tenants. Undoubtedly the
idea has merit in view of the fact that it costs a lot of
money merely to keep a building open. In northeastern
United States and in part of Canada a reasonable estimate
of costs is two dollars a year--per square foot. Thus if
a school contains 30,000 square feet and stands half
occupied, it requires two dollars per square foot times
15,000 square feet or $30,000 a year to maintain empty
space. Taking the calculation further, if there are two
hundred children housed in the building (instead of the
four hundred it was designed for), the empty space hangs
an extra "$150 millstone" around each pupil's neck. (p. 28)
Need for Planning and Research
Research and planning represented the key strategies for the
1980's. The economic upheavals that whiplashed the late-1960's and
early-1970's left the educational community aghast due to the
potential proportions of the margin between enrollment projections
and existing facilities.
Martorana and Kuhns (1975) ameliorated the fear of the lack of
change and planning in an institution:
The revolution of rising expectations find the nation
and the world short of some critical resources, and the
shortages have brought about expanding inflation. Because
aspirations are now higher than available necessities,
change and innovation in society must develop in a far
different context. This stress is particularly true in
higher education. In the history of higher education,
thousands of institutions have died aborning, but
thousands more have closed their doors after decades or
even centuries of service because they did not change. In
contrast, those that survive are those that have adapted.
Lyons (1969) added to the admonishment of Martorana and Kuhn by
signaling that research and planning were needed elements for the
One of the skills needed by college leaders will be that
of selecting personnel for research and planning; also
providing resources and specifying the boundaries and
objectives for the work of the specialists. Once the
leaders have the benefit of research ano planning, decisions
will be less limited to their own experience and knowledge.
Coombs and Hallak (1972) contended, as did Lyons, that research and planning
should have existed, and that the economic arena deserved paramount
Both planners and administrators will in the future have
to take into greater account the economic aspects in-
volved in their plans and explore every means of improving
the efficiency of their educational system so as to get
the best value from existing resources.
Experience has proved that an indispensable technique
for this purpose is analysis of the costs of education.
The analysis should make it possible to:
1. Check the economic validity of educational plans.
2. Draw up a precise program of expenditure over
the planning period.
3. Estimate both the costs and the real economic
consequences of specific projects.
4. Facilitate decision-making when several alter-
natives exist for the allocation of funds. (p. 5)
Experts stressed the specific need for planning as an essential
element in the strategy of school systems to avoid the problems of
decline. usch (1975) offered: "When money is tight, planning is
indispensable. You have to select your priorities; you have to plan"
McIntyre (1977) stated: "Orderly planning can ease the difficult
adjustments made necessary by the adjustments to decline" (p. 290).
Thomas (1977) added:
The schools of this nation will survive declining enroll-
ments in much the same way as they have survived growth,
collective negotiations, accountability, federal regulations,
and reduced budgets. Dealing with tne problems of declining
school population requires long-ranae planning, forecasting,
and the sensitivity to human needs. (p. 19)
Deckard and Lessey (1975) related the necessity of Management
Manpower Planning in any organization as having enabled the accomplish-
ment of the objectives of the organization:
Any organization has to reappraise, on a continuing basis,
what it has in manpower strength and at the same time
estimate what it will need to fulfill its purposes and
objectives. Without a manpower forecasting/planning program,
the future needs of the organization are reduced to guess
work. (p. 168)
Deckard and Lessey (1975) further contended:
The key to any forecasting procedure is to determine
what causes things to happen the way they do. In the
case of education there is a need to know what determines
the supply and demand for people which becomes the basis
for predicting what will happen in the future. This
knowledge can be used two different ways:
1. Changes such as training and transfers may be
planned with anticipated effects of these activities
projected into the supply and demand of people even
though many factors are uncontrollable to the
2. Anticipating the possible changes in these un-
controlled factors and projecting their possible
impact on the organization. (p. 169)
Keough (1974) offered a "do-it-yourself" questionnaire to identify
a potential decline situation. This questionnaire was based on certain
specific and usually noticeable characteristics which were revealed to
the administrator who was alert to current happenings and historical
background. If answers tended to be in the affirmative, the administra-
tion of the district should have given serious thought to potential
declining enrollment and should have prepared for the associated
problems (See Appendix G).
Keough (1975) advised administrators to implement an enrollment
review srudy before the decline reached its full impact. This study
should have been conducted by a board prior to the institution of an
expansion of an elective program in an attempt to increase enrollment.
Responsibilities of this board as offered by Keough (1975) were:
1. Appraise the possibility of outside, contracted
services to meet career education or career-
opportunity training program needs.
2. Implement a district reorganization program to
balance and utilize existing buildings more fully
as the decline curve moves up through the grades.
3. Study the feasibility of allowing for the lease
or rental of excess space to community service
agencies. (p. 41)
Assuming that the administrators and trustees were realistic in
their projection of the market and that they recognized the impact of
any potential new programs for the institution, Tucker (1977) advised
seven steps to adjust management practices and philosophies:
1. Information needs--Summary information relating to
the college's goals and objectives in the face of
trends, ratios, and variances.
2. Planning--Emphasis on long range planning in many
institutions has been detrimental to short term
planning, budgetary control, and budget status
3. Financial Warning Signals--See Appendix H
4. Cost Recognition--Management must evaluate the
various components of the institution's costs in
order to have a clear understanding of their
behavior and nature.
5. Cost/Benefit Analysis--Once costs have been
properly recognized, administrators must evaluate
them in light of the obtainable benefits. When
benefits do not justify costs, activities should
be curtailed or eliminated.
6. Organization--Colleges must reassess their
7. Student Aid--In a number of institutions student aid
was not, until recently, formally recognized as part
of the budget even though unfunded student aid has
generally been revealed as the chief source of many
college deficits. (pp. 46-48)
Relationship of the Literature Reviewed to the Study
The dire need for efficacious planning emerged as the essential
defense against declining enrollments. When decreases went unchecked,
the probability of reduction in force increased greatly. Only time
revealed the respective successes of institutions which experienced
decline. The implications of such a decline wrought havoc with the
attitudes of the organizational personnel and tenets.
Educational administrators continually expounded these issues
through creativity, belief in the profession, and bonafide optimism.
The skills of administrators when faced with management of decline
and reduction in force dictated the survival of the institutions
during the fulfillment of their diverse missions. The primary advantage
of an enrollment decline, as promulgated by the authors of the
literature reviewed, was that fewer students and more faculty could
be a favorable situation--"fewer (students) is more (education)."
This was often the case, unless the decline continued and became more
severe. As previously mentioned, as enrollment declined, resources
declined. Through an investigation into the realm of enrollment
decline, a comprehension of the intricacies of this decline in
resources was sought.
Development of the Propositions
Based on the literature review the following 10 propositions
were developed. The discussion of the confirmation or lack
of confirmation was included in Chapter VI, Conclusions, Recommendations,
and Implications. Dominant themes in the literature review were utilized
in the development of the propositions.
Planned operational counteractive strategies were viewed as the
primary defense utilized to deal with the problems associated with
enrollment decline. In the review of the literature, it was found
that the enrollment decline was most often the stimulus for the
development and implementation of counteractive strategies.
Statement 1. Where there was enrollment decline, pre-planned counter-
active strategies were implemented.
The development of counteractive strategies was suggested as
critical to the need to eliminate staff. If counteractive strategies
were not developed prior to the decline, the probability of retrench-
ment (elimination of staff) increased. Pre-decline flexibility planning
regarding counteractive strategies was viewed as a means to avoid the
need to retrench.
Statement 2. Where there was enrollment decline, there was retrench-
ment if counteractive strategies were not implemented prior to the
Retraining through sabbatical leaves was evidenced in the literature
review as an effective strategy to eliminate the need to retrench some
surplus personnel. Personnel relocation in the institutional under-
staffed areas was the goal.
Statement 3. Where there was enrollment decline, retraining programs
were implemented rather than retrenchment.
Through the review of the literature it was deliberated that
if retrenchment policies were developed, all personnel potentially
affected should have been part of the process. This participative
development was viewed as vital to the creation of a practical and
acceptable policy. Increased information levels gained by this
participative process were viewed as positive to the human relations
attitudes of the institution, since the staff would feel some control
over their own destiny.
Statement 4. Where there was enrollment decline, retrenchment policies
were participatively developed.
Flexibility ranges in staffing were offered as having increased
the probability of institutional survival during an enrollment decline.
The use of part-time staff rather than full-time staff was suggested
as a strategy utilized to increase short run flexibility. The part-
time staff could have been eliminated on a semester basis, while full-
time staff could have been eliminated on an annual basis.
Statement 5. Where there was enrollment decline, more emphasis was
placed on filling full-time faculty vacancies with part-time faculty
than with full-time faculty.
It was determined through the literature review that maintenance,
buildings, and grounds areas would be restricted first when the enroll-
ment and subsequent revenue declined. This would be followed by the
restriction of the faculty and administrative support area. The
instructional area was maintained as long as possible, and, of course,
determinant on the dynamics of the other areas.
Statement 6. Where there was enrollment decline, the instructional area
maintained a high funding priority.
Based on the dimensions of the potential community college
clientele in the late-1970's the occupational programming was
expected to increase. Coincidental to the increase in occupational
programming was the anticipated declination in the traditional liberal
arts and science enrollment.
Statement 7. Where there was enrollment decline, occupational
program enrollment declined the least amount.
Further evidenced through a literature review, was the benefit
of natural attrition. Early retirement incentive programs were
offered as viable strategies to increase institutional staffing
Statement 8. Where there was enrollment decline, early retirement
incentive programs were utilized to increase natural attrition of
Evidenced in the literature review was the dire lack of
efficacious planning prior to the occurrence of an enrollment decline.
The enrollment decline was depicted as the stimulus to generate
increased planning, projections, and forecasts. Suggested as a viable
strategy to accommodate this planning was the increased resource
allocation to the utilization of management information systems.
Statement 9. Where there was enrollment decline, management informa-
tion systems became utilized to a greater degree as compared to
pre-enrollment decline levels.
A counteractive strategy offered in the literature review was
the development of a wider range of educational services. The
community college programming was expected to become more comprehensive,
providing increased educational services to the service area with
the goal of increased enrollment. The comprehensiveness of program-
ming was expected to increase cnce the enrollment decline was
Statement 10. Where there was enrollment decline, the instructional
programming was comprised of a wider range of educational services as
compared to the pre-enrollment decline situation.
Confinement of Sources for the Reviewed Literature
The literature reviewed in Chapter II was the result of a quest
for literature related to decline in enrollment. The sources reviewed
included books, monographs, and articles identified through the following
indices: the Current Index of Journals in Education, Dissertation
Abstracts International, and the Education Index.
The next section, Chapter III, is titled Results of the Study.
In Chapter III the results of 89 personal interviews conducted at
four Florida community colleges were presented. Problems associated
with enrollment decline and counteractive strategies utilized were
RESULTS OF THE STUDY
The data collected at four Florida community colleges are presented
in this section. The interview guide (Appendix A) was utilized in 89
personal interview sessions with the intent of determining varied
problematic issues relative to an enrollment decline, and the varied
counteractive strategies implemented and/or considered to deal with the
problems created. Results from each institution visited were presented in
their entirety, utilizing the following organization of collected data:
Evolution of the Setting, Problems in Allocation of Finances, Facility
Utilization, Institutional Support Programs, Instructional Programs,
Personnel, and Planning; and the Counteractive Strategies implemented
and/or considered. Results from College A were presented first, followed
by results from College B, College C, and College D. The summaries in
this section were presented following the discussion of each college
and relate to each respective college.
All information presented in this chapter was provided during the
personal interview sessions. In the chapter no attempt was made to
interject personal attitudes or opinions of the researcher. All informa-
tion presented was scrutinized from the direct responses of the inter-
Evolution of the Setting: College A
College A, located in Belmont, Florida, is a relatively small rural
community college supported by six agriculturally based counties.
Founded in 1958, College A had been geared to accommodate approximately
1,000 full-time students and generate approximately 1,300 full-time
equivalent units. In 1959 the first permanent college structure was
completed on an 82 acre wooded site within walking distance of Belmont.
During the initial decade of operation, approximately 500 full-time
students were from two cities approximately 100 miles away. All of
these students were in need of local housing and varied goods and
services. Dormitories were available .for some of the out of
service area students, whose purchasing helped support many of the local
businesses. During the early-1970's, the community colleges located
in these two distant cities were greatly expanded in size and diver-
sification of programming. Most persons interviewed suggested that due
to this situation, a majority of the potential College A students from
these cities attended their respective local community colleges. In
1973-1974 the enrollment at College A decreased by approximately 300
full-time students and a comparable number of full-time equivalent units.
A majority of interviewees further suggested that the 1973-1974 enroll-
ment was affected by the discontinuing of the selective service draft;
thus the need for some male students to utilize college deferments
evaporated. Also mentioned as significant to the 1973 enrollment
decline was the location of four vocational-technical schools within
the six county support area, creating partial program duplication with
The persons interviewed at College A unanimously agreed that no
effective planning existed at the college prior to the 1973 enrollment
decline. One person noted "The only enrollment projections employed
at College A were those offered by the state projections for 5%
increase in enrollment per year." Most persons interviewed suggested
that the enrollment decline became evident to the college personnel
simultaneous to the fall term, 1973. They further suggested that the
staffing for the 1973-1974 academic year was set, since contracts had
been signed in April, 1973. According to most persons interviewed,
the unanticipated decline in enrollment during the fall of 1973
resulted in immediate administrative activities to counteract what
appeared to be an emergency. At first the administration made no public
statements about consequences of the decline for the college. However,
the president appointed an ad hoc committee headed by the dean of
academic affairs to ponder the problem and recommend alternative solu-
tions. According to respondents many alternatives were expressed and
considered for meeting what appeared to be an emergency situation.
However, the bottom line of the deliberations involved procedures for
the reduction of faculty and staff. As one person described the condi-
tion, "All of us were totally unprepared. There were no policies
written or verbalized for such a situation." Although consideration
was given to such ideas as worth of the faculty member to the college
and quality of the faculty member, the administration eventually
centered on seniority as the only feasible solution to the reduction
of faculty--last in, first out (LIFO) was the criterion. As one of the
respondents expressed the situation during these deliberations, "It
was crisis management at its worst." By the end of the 1973-1974
academic year five faculty positions were retrenched.
As the student body became more locally based, it was suggested
that fewer student activities were desired. As one respondent suggested
"When participation in student activities decreased, the activities were
decreased. This decreased level of student activities affected the
image of College A in relation to providing a full-range of educational
services." Most persons interviewed suggested that if educational
services were allowed to continue to decrease the enrollment decline
may become self-generating. Suggested as further contributing to the
enrollment decline was the lack of needs assessment. One individual
expressed that "Due to the lack of needs assessment, neither recruitment
nor programming were manipulated by the staff to react to the 1973-1974
Allocation of Finances
As enrollment decline repercussions were evidenced throughout the
institution, economic activity in the local community decreased simul-
taneously. Most persons interviewed, expressed that the management team
had decided to constrain the maintenance, buildings, and grounds budget
first. Once this area budget had been scrutinized, the instructional
and administrative support budgets were cut. As one person expressed,
"All efforts were made to maintain the integrity of the instructional
budget; thus the instructional area budgets were scrutinized only when
the flexibility in the maintenance and support budgets had been eliminated."
Most persons interviewed mentioned that since approximately 80% of the
College A operating expenses was salaries, effects on the staff positions
and salaries were inherent to counteractive alternatives under delibera-
tion. As mentioned by one respondent, "It became imperative that the
administration utilize a $200,000 fund balance to ride-out the 1973-1974
repercussions of the enrollment decline." In the academic years
immediately following the decline, the budgetary situation at College
A became critical; revenues barely covered costs.
As previously noted, the maintenance, buildings, and grounds budget
was scrutinized first. Initially, funds for equipment were reduced fol-
lowed closely by cuts in payroll. Most persons interviewed suggested
that since the 1973 enrollment decline, the staff in the maintenance
area has remained 50% of the pre-decline level; however, the buildings
and grounds expenditures remain about the same. Adding to the problem,
as expressed by one person interviewed, "When custodial employees
left College A through natural attrition, Comprehensive Employment
Training Act funds were used to replace the existing employee. When
the Federal Government cut CETA funds, the maintenance area lost these
positions as the positions were no longer budgeted items." Most persons
interviewed suggested that the college image was believed to suffer
when the existing facilities and operations were not maintained to
pre-decline levels. According to one person interviewed, "The maintenance,
buildings, and grounds staff was precariously reduced, thus the planned
maintenance program was never initiated."
Institutional Support Programs
A predominant theme throughout the interviews, was the fact that
when the institutional support staff declined, the responsibilities
common to this area did not decline also. As expressed by one person
interviewed, "Even though the institutional support staff declined, the
same number of support programs and reports were required; thus the
remaining staff each took on multiple role functions." Recruitment was
another support area that was offered by the respondents as having
been affected by the decline in support staff. Most persons inter-
viewed mentioned that as the enrollment decline continued and budgets
became more constrained, less recruitment rather than more was being
done. As previously mentioned in the Evolution of the Setting section,
the student activities budgets were constrained due to the repercussions
of the enrollment decline. Most persons interviewed, suggested that
when the students sensed an enrollment decline and a subsequent decrease
in services, the student morale dropped. As student morale dropped,
the image of College A staff's ability to provide educational services
faltered. According to one person interviewed, "When student and/or
staff morale was low, the most dynamic media of recruitment generated
by educational satisfaction was gone."
As previously discussed in the Allocation of Finances section, the
instructional budgets were constrained only after the maintenance,
buildings, and grounds budgets and the administrative and faculty sup-
port budgets had been scrutinized. It was further suggested that due
to the lack of flexibility in the support areas, it was not long before
instructional personnel and programming were affected. As one respondent
expressed, "The instructional programming was modified to emphasize
the general education courses that had a higher probability of generating
full classes." Most persons interviewed mentioned that the marginal
programming and courses were modified or eliminated, and that educational
services were designed to accommodate the increased part-time student
The persons interviewed unanimously suggested that the personnel
realm of the institution was affected most by the enrollment decline.
The need to diminish staff was offered by a majority of those inter-
viewed as the most traumatic element that had ever occurred at College A.
As expressed by one respondent, "The enrollment decline and the subsequent
need to retrench came as a surprise to the personnel." Most persons inter-
viewed suggested that since no retrenchment policies were operational,
no one knew who might be retrenched; thus the staff morale plunged. As
one respondent expressed, "Morale was at an all time low." During the
spring of 1973, straight seniority (LIFO) was used to eliminate five
faculty members. Personnel salaries and wages were problematic and
settled among the lowest in the Florida Community College System. In
1979, a distinct remnant of 1973-1974 retrenchment was that most persons
interviewed mentioned that the administrative team had become top heavy
as compared to the entire institutional staffing pattern.
The personnel interviewed were of mixed opinion that during times
of enrollment decline decision making would gravitate towards autocracy
or democracy. Half the respondents mentioned that decision making became
more autocratic, and a fourth felt that the decision making became more
democratic, and a quarter of the respondents felt that decision making
regarding the enrollment decline was avoided as long as possible. Most
persons interviewed, suggested that the retrenchment procedure used in
1973-1974 was still having an effect upon the institution at the time
of the interviews. One person interviewed mentioned that "Another
obvious problem existed. Morale plummeted due to the straight
seniority, LIFO, procedure used for retrenchment in 1973-1974 and that
due to the use of LIFO, 'deadwood' was still around."
The researcher received a unanimous consensus to the situation
that no planning existed at College A prior to the enrollment decline.
As expressed by one respondent, "Nonfeasance (failure to perform) rather
than malfeasance (wrong doing) or misfeasance (improper execution),
best identified the status of planning at College A at the time of the
enrollment decline." Reviewing the planning involved in making retrench-
ment decisions, most respondents offered the opinion that the politics
of the local community were not known at the time of the retrenchment
decisions; thus some personnel actions alienated varied political factions
in the community. The planning situation at College A was best sum-
marized by one respondent in the following manner. "Due to a severe
lack of enrollment and personnel planning prior to the enrollment decline,
College A personnel were destined to struggle with the personnel problems
inherent to enrollment decline through a 'seat of the pants' process."
The counteractive strategies considered and/or implemented at
College A were presented in this section. A majority of those inter-
viewed agreed that a priority strategy in dealing with enrollment
decline was to acquire competent, consistent, and forceful but just
leadership. As suggested by one respondent, "The board of trustees
and top administration should have established procedures and parameters
for decision making in all policy areas. Timely decisions were needed,
but not forthcoming." A strategy that received unanimous support was
one in which planning and needs assessment was being developed at an
institution wide level. As expressed by one respondent, "A community
college does not exist in a vacuum; all societal institutions were a
segment of the communication channel and thus a part of all College A
planning." An element of planning in which College A presently participates
are two consortia both dealing with computer utilization.
Most persons interviewed mentioned that when an enrollment decline
approached or was upon the college, information was not shared freely
within the institution. As expressed by one interviewee, "Internal
communication was vitally needed so that all might have participated in
scrutinizing the budget and maintaining morale." Mentioned as having
benefit to the budget was the assistance with the campus grounds through
a Green Thumb Program in which senior citizens donate time and literally
"pitch in." Most persons interviewed suggested that released time
expenses were eliminated due to the creation of three divisions rather
than the seven that previously existed. One individual suggested that
"The released time that was allocated to these four positions was al-
located to increase the off-campus educational activities." Also, it
was suggested that the faculty was required to teach off-campus, three
hours of a fifteen semester hour load. Another strategy mentioned by
most persons interviewed was the increased flexibility gained by
utilizing part-time positions. As expressed by one respondent, "The
inability to eliminate part-time staff added to the contraction pains
of decline." It was suggested by a number of respondents that perhaps
a nucleus of full-time positions should exist supplemented by part-time
staff. A majority of the respondents did not suggest numbers, even
though they were in support of the strategy. Two individuals offered
a one to two ratio of one full-time position filled by part-time
personnel for every two positions held by full-time personnel. An
interesting twist to the staff flexibility issue was offered by a
person who suggested that the general education course requirements
should have been shifted to utilize the surplus staff.
Most persons interviewed suggested that when the need to retrench
became clear, concerned students attempted to voice opinions regarding
the faculty, especially who should not be released. As offered by one
respondent, "The students had little voice in the identification and
selection of retrenchment strategies." As the student body changed to
a more local support area base, many respondents contended that College
A had finally become a comprehensive community college rather than a
liberal arts and science junior college. As one person mentioned,
"The strategy, through necessity, became outreach. The support com-
munity began to receive full-service treatment from College A opera-
tions." It was further suggested that recruitment, in times of growth
or decline, was vital to enrollment and demanded responsibility.
Also suggested as positively related to enrollment was the acquisition
of student financial aid packages, particularly for many of the support
As expressed by one respondent, "The need to reduce staff
conjured many emotional attitudes that penetrated the college to the
very fiber of existence." A majority of those interviewed felt that
retrenchment was not done expeditiously, and affected morale. A
majority of those interviewed suggested that the persons retrenched,
received assistance in relocation and all but one individual were
successfully placed. As one person suggested, "No opportunity existed
to absorb surplus elsehwere in the college."
Most persons interviewed suggested that following the enrollment
problem, hiring standards changed at College A so that the preferred
applicant must be a generalist and most probably would be initially
hired on a part-time basis. If all goes well on a part-time basis
and competence was witnessed, the part-time staff member was preferred
for the full-time position when vacancies occurred. As one person
expressed, "This advantageous opportunity to the employee and employer,
before full-time arrangements were made, seemed ideal." In addition
to this most persons interviewed mentioned that increased scrutiny
was used prior to granting tenure or a permanent contract and that if
any questions remained at tenure granting time, tenure was not granted.
Most persons interviewed expressed that there was a tendency to
give attention to refining existing programs rather than to program
innovations. One respondent mentioned that "The fine tuning of the
advanced and professional programs and the increased efforts to gain
part-time student registration saved the enrollment at College A in
the long run." Also mentioned by most persons as being significant
to the program operation was the acquisition of Title III funds for
Developing Institutions. Teaching fellows came to College A via this
grant money; thus some senior staff members took advantage of paid
sabbaticals. As one interviewee mentioned, "This was viewed as a
win-win situation; if the faculty member moved on, the staffing problem
eased and if the faculty member returned, he/she would have hopefully
During the procedural phases of retrenchment much was discussed;
however, little was decided. Straight seniority (LIFO) was used to
retrench. One participant felt that LIFO was the only appropriate
method, while three felt that LIFO was "OK" since it was the only
legal way to retrench. A majority felt that much more was needed in
retrenchment decision making, than merely straight seniority. As one
person expressed, "Benefit to the college and service area was not
included in the criteria." A majority felt that straight seniority
only created a decrease in morale. Interestingly enough, even though
great displeasure with straight seniority existed, only one individual
felt that unionization was a possibility due to retrenchment. More
than half of those interviewed felt that in the future, if retrenchment
was needed, it must maintain some semblance of program areas and that
staff versatility, planning, and programming vs need must be ingredients
in retrenchment decisions. One respondent felt that "Hard management
analysis must be implemented which would include a reshuffling of
the salary schedule and compensate according to job description not
seniority." It was also strongly stressed by most persons interviewed
that if early retirement incentive plans were practical, interest
would have existed.
Varied strategies were suggested to deal with problems in the
maintenance, buildings, and grounds area. One strategy given was
made very clear. As one person suggested that "Grounds are always
tough no matter what the staffing." It was also suggested that carpet
is easier to maintain than tile, and that rather than stripping the
wooden floors two or three times per year once was sufficient. Also
suggested as a potential alternative to the maintenance, buildings,
and grounds area would be a four day work week.
An overriding theme to the milieu of enrollment decline surfaced
once the enrollment decline had occurred. A majority of interviewees
mentioned that a new overall "mindset" existed at the institution--
that being the transition from the times of growth to the reality of
the management of decline. One avenue that was not overlooked was the
practice of looking to the Division of Community Colleges for auxiliary
support. It was believed that all assistance gained from Dr. Lee
Henderson and his department was very useful. When asked, "What
would you do if enrollment decline occurred again and retrenchment
was necessary?" half those interviewed said they would quit.
Summary: College A
The persons interviewed at College A unanimously agreed that no
effective planning existed at the college prior to the 1973 enrollment
decline. They further suggested that the staffing for the 1973-1974
academic year was fixed, since contracts had been signed in April, 1973.
According to most persons interviewed, the unanticipated decline in
enrollment during the fall of 1973 resulted in immediate administrative
activities to counteract what appeared to be an emergency. However,
the bottom line of the deliberations involved procedures for the re-
duction of faculty and staff. By the end of the 1973-1974 academic
year five faculty positions were retrenched.
Problems associated with the enrollment decline were evident
throughout the college. Most persons interviewed mentioned that
since approximately 80% of the College A operating expenses was
salaries, effects on the staff positions and salaries were inherent
to counteractive alternatives under deliberation. As mentioned by
one respondent, "It became imperative that the administration utilize
a $200,000 fund balance to ride-out the 1973-1974 repercussions of the
enrollment decline." Most persons interviewed suggested that since
the 1973 enrollment decline, the staff in the maintenance area had
remained 50% of the pre-decline level. According to one person inter-
viewed, "The maintenance, buildings, and grounds staff was precariously
reduced; thus the planned maintenance program was never initiated."
A predominant theme throughout the interviews was the fact that when
the institutional support staff declined, the responsibilities common
to this area did not also decline. As expressed by one person inter-
viewed, "Even though the institutional support staff declined, the
same number of support programs and reports were required; thus the
remaining staff each took on multiple role functions." The instruc-
tional budgets were constrained only after the maintenance, buildings,
and grounds budgets and the academic and administrative support budgets
had been scrutinized. It was further suggested that due to the lack of
flexibility in the support areas, it was not long before instructional
personnel and programming were affected. The need to diminish staff
was offered by a majority of those interviewed as the most traumatic
element that had ever occurred at College A.
The counteractive strategies utilized at College A included
budget constriction, increased internal communication, and the increased
utilization of part-time staff when staff additions were necessitated.
A representative college committee was established to address the
need for retrenchment. Budgets were constricted, part-time staff
released, and outreach activities were increased; yet the enrollment
decline had resulted in reduced revenue to the extent that retrenchment
could not be avoided.
Evolution of the Setting: College B
Operations were initiated at College B in the mid-1960's and
evolved to the four distinct campuses servicing the urban center at
Allentown, Florida, with a population base of approximately 620,000.
East Campus was functional in the mid-1960's, North Campus and West
Campus followed, and subsequently in the mid-1970's the South Campus
completed the foursome. In 1978, College B generated approximately
18,000 full-time equivalent units and this has been the approximate
full-time equivalent unit generation of the college since the mid-1970's.
However, the enrollments at established campuses fluctuated as newer
campuses opened. When the South Campus opened in the mid-1970's,
East and West Campuses experienced enrollment declines. In addition to
the inter-campus enrollment phenomenon, external factors, especially
from the State Legislature, were offered by a majority of the respondents
as contributory to the enrollment decline.
During the mid-1970's, an enrollment cap was suggested by the
state. If enrollment exceeded the cap the college would not receive
full-time equivalent unit revenue for the excess full-time equivalent
unit generation. Accordingly, as one respondent expressed, "The
institution put on the brakes for most public relations and recruitment."
As anticipated, this set the stage for self-perpetuating declination.
Also, through state instigation, varied full-time equivalent unit
categories were established. Each community college not only must
have met total college full-time equivalent unit projections, but the
full-time equivalent unit generation had to occur in specific categories
(i.e., advanced and professional, adult and continuing education,
occupational credit, and occupational non-credit). A majority of the
respondents felt that an increase in headcount and a decrease in full-
time equivalent unit generation was an issue affecting enrollment. As
mentioned by one person, "The full-time equivalent unit projection game
had become critical." In the final analysis, both directly affected
the revenue, and revenue represented the driving force behind full-
time equivalent unit generation.
For the purposes of this study East and West Campuses as well as the
District Offices were visited. Enrollment at College B had gradually
declined since the mid-1970's. Prior to the decline, College B had
experienced explosive growth, fostering the attitude among the personnel
that College B was merely stabilizing in enrollment based on the
dynamics of the service area. This was suggested as having contributed
to the moderate institutional recruitment drive in the service area.
After the initial growth and subsequent full-time equivalent unit
decline, College B was overstaffed. Fortunately no retrenchment
was necessary since natural attrition and the elimination of part-time
staff were successful tactics in alleviating the staffing surplus.
The overstaffing situation was further complicated due to the faculty's
option of two, three, or four term contracts. The third term--spring,
and fourth term--summer, have traditionally attracted lower enrollments
than fall and winter terms. A majority of the College B full-time
faculty selected three and four term contracts but spring and summer
terms, as expected, had the need for less faculty coverage. The budget
was strained in general, by the overall enrollment decline but more
dramatically during the spring and summer terms due to the overstaffing
patterns that had developed.
In discussing the evolution of the enrollment situation at College
B, the interviews conducted at East and West Campuses contributed to
the ramifications and views of enrollment decline. A majority of the
respondents at East Campus felt the enrollment cap and the opening of
the other three campuses were the pertinent cause of the decline at
East Campus. Also found to be significant at East Campus was the increase
in nondegree students and decrease in degree seeking students. In the
late-1970's, East Campus experienced decreases in occupational credit
and advanced and professional, and increases in occupational non-credit
and adult and continuing education.
The interviewees at West Campus also offered the enrollment cap
and further suggested that the state funding categories and control
had contributed to the decreased impetus for enrollment. They further
suggested, that due to the capping, many sections were not opened
during registration contrary to reflected demand; hence the West
Campus image may have been negatively affected. Also mentioned as
having contributed to the situation at West Campus was the change in
the Veterans' Administration standards. It was expressed by one person,
"As the academic standards became more rigid and qualifying criteria
changed, West Campus lost approximately 100 full-time equivalent units
over a period of two terms."
The respondents at West Campus suggested, as did those at East
Campus, that as new campuses opened the inter-campus shifting of courses
and programs contributed to the enrollment fluctuations. As one
respondent expressed, "These fluctuations had added to the complexity
of dealing with a decrease in full-time equivalent units." Also signi-
ficant was the fact that students in the College B service area were
working part or full time, thus taking fewer credits. A majority of
the respondents suggested, as a result of these variables, full-time
equivalent unit generation at College B had declined while the head-
count had increased. The college was serving more people, yet on the
average each student was taking fewer credits per term. As one
respondent suggested, "This contributed to added budgetary constraints
and an overall decrease in campus and college productivity according
to full-time equivalent unit based comparisons."
Allocation of Finances
The initial year of the enrollment decline at College B was one
of growing awareness with the onset of discussions regarding potential
tactics to counter the decrease in enrollment. A majority of respondents
suggested that the actual financial burden of a decrease in fundable
full-time equivalent units occurred during the year following the decline.
This situation was offered by the interviewees as directly related to
the creation of projected full-time equivalent units for a given year,
state funding based on the projections, the full-time equivalent unit
projections not having been met, and finally, the state debiting the
college during year two based on the projections and actual full-time
equivalent unit generation during year one. Also frequently mentioned
by a majority of interviewees as having been a finance allocation prob-
lem, was the phenomenon of decreased fundable full-time equivalent units
yet increased student headcounts. As one person expressed, "The
significance of this situation was that increased funding was not
forthcoming from the state to assist the college with the additional
strain on varied support services." The services such as registration,
counseling, and advising increased in activity since more students
utilized the community college resources. Even though many of the
enrollees were not matriculated or were on a part-time basis, support
services were still sought and provided.
Most respondents suggested that within the institution, the
maintenance, building, and grounds budget was first affected due to
the full-time equivalent unit funding level and the deteriorated tuition
revenue. The next budget to be scrutinized was the institutional sup-
port budget followed by the instructional budget. Travel and conference
monies were constrained and equipment expenditures were modified. As
mentioned by one person, "Since approximately 80% of the college
operating expenses was salaries, it was not long before the staff
positions and salaries were affected."
As previously discussed, the interviewees suggested that due to
budget restraints at College B, some maintenance was deferred. It was
further suggested that when budgetary constraints occurred, the planned
maintenance program was quickly jeopardized. As expressed by one person,
"The physical plant was not affected to any major degree other than
continued budgetary confinements. Some of the confinements were
particular to an institution as it stabilizes in size." Most persons
interviewed suggested that also of significance to the facility
situation were the new campuses at College B. One interviewee mentioned
that, "As new facilities were completed, using capital expenditures
not full-time equivalent unit revenue, the immediacy of ongoing
maintenance fortunately decreased, especially since the staff was fully
occupied with the natural unique responsibilities of new facilities."
Based on the interviews conducted, the general consensus at College B
was that the physical plant of the college well served the number of
The East Campus was in the final stages of completion at the time
of the visits. A majority of the interviewees suggested that the
recent enrollment decline and concurrent building program caused some
of the facilities in the building program to be eliminated due to the
slow expansion of enrollment. As one person expressed, "Enrollment
was lower than the original projections; therefore the building program
was modified." Even though separate long-run capital outlay funds
were set aside for the construction, the campus was scaled down. At
West Campus the new building program had been completed just prior to
the enrollment fluctuations, and no facility modification was made.
One person suggested, "Since West Campus was new, maintenance was
allowed to taper." A majority of interviewees mentioned that most of
the available maintenance, building, and grounds budget was allocated
to keep the campus operational, including the effective functioning of
the physical plant and appearance of the grounds. The interviewees
unanimously suggested that the attractiveness and asthetic milieu of
the college was critical to a positive college image.
Institutional Support Programs
The predominant theme throughout the interviews was the increased
strain on student personnel services due to an increased headcount of
students yet a decreased generation of fundable full-time equivalent
units. As expressed by one person, "The decreased ability to generate
full-time equivalent unit revenue coupled with the increased demand
for night classes and appropriate support services had created the
need for registration, counseling, and advising to be offered to more
individuals on a day and evening basis utilizing stagnant levels of
resources." As varied peripheral expenses were cut at the college, the
staff development activities were eliminated.
Most persons interviewed mentioned that once the non-instruction
areas had undergone budgetary scrutiny, attention was given to the
instructional equipment budgets. As expressed by one person, "Equip-
ment acquisitions were deferred in an attempt to avoid the impact on
personnel positions and salaries." The personnel decisions that were
necessitated will be discussed in the next section, Personnel. The
respondents at East Campus deliberated the image problem associated
with the declining enrollment programs. As suggested by one person,
"The poor institutional image of the declining programs soon permeated
the student body and a pattern of self-perpetuating decline developed."
An unfortunate twist in the irony at East Campus was the fact that
the program area most heavily hit by the decline was also one of the
highest state funded programs per full-time equivalent unit generated;
hence the net revenue loss became more pronounced.
Interviewees offered that during the enrollment decline and prior
to the completion of new facilities at East Campus, the campus space
available for additional course offerings became limited. This was
especially significant in the high demand area--adult and continuing
education. As one person expressed, "The campus personnel was in a
position to move the campus programming off campus or live with the
facility constraints which had led to the development of a very active
occupational non-credit outreach thrust." Even though fluctuations in
varied occupational programs were evidenced, the occupational credit
programming did not suffer a significant full-time equivalent unit loss.
As previously noted, the legislative "suggestion" of an enrollment
cap in the mid-1970's stimulated constraint activities at College B.
West Campus was not immune to these activities. Most persons inter-
viewed suggested that in an attempt to stabilize enrollment and live
with the deletion of many part-time faculty due to budgetary confine-
ments, no new course sections were opened during the later phases of
registration. Interviewees inferred that the image of West Campus was
negatively affected since some students turned elsewhere to find the
courses they desired. An additional situation presented by the inter-
viewees was that as the non-continuing contract and part-time staff
were eliminated, the quality of instructional services deteriorated.
As expressed by one person, "When staff was decreased, and the levels
of service were expected to maintain similar dynamics; existing
faculty were pressed into service in their secondary or minor areas."
Most persons interviewed mentioned that the personnel realm of
the institution was affected most by the enrollment decline. One person
expressed that, "The fact that no continuing contract personnel were
retrenched, was dependent on the college administrators' ability to
eliminate part-time and non-continuing contract personnel." The inter-
viewees suggested that by not filling vacated positions, the institution
was able to be adjusted to the imposed budget constraints. The need to
diminish staff was offered by a majority of those interviewed as one
of the most traumatic elements ever to have occurred at College B.
One person mentioned that, "The fact that no retrenchment was neces-
sitated was an advantage to the institutional esprit de corps, since
no retrenchment plan was in existence." The lack of a retrenchment
procedure was suggested as perhaps having contributed to anxiety.
Based on their experiences, a majority of respondents felt that the
mere mention of retrenchment spurred anxiety among the personnel. Unioni-
zation efforts prior to the enrollment decline failed; however, the
respondents suggested that since the enrollment decline, unionization
efforts had increased. As one respondent suggested, "The 'grapevine'
activity had increased feeding on the anxiety and unsettledness of
potential retrenchment without union protection."
As the enrollment declined at East Campus, an overstaffed situation
developed. Further suggested as having complicated the overstaffed
personnel status was the faculty option of two, three, or four term
contracts. As previously discussed in the Evolution of the Setting
section, the third--spring, and fourth--summer terms were historically
lower in census, thus demanded less faculty coverage. One person
mentioned that, "With a vast majority of the faculty on continuing
contract and three and four term contracts, the staffing flexibility of
administrative scrutiny declined." As the need decreased for personnel
at varied campuses, the respondents offered that a tendency developed
to transfer personnel to the District Offices, creating an overstaffed
situation at District. In the final analysis, as offered by one of the
respondents, "Five vacated positions had not been filled at East Campus
and a decrease in staff and student morale was evidenced."
At West Campus, the year of the "suggested" enrollment cap was
offered by a majority of the interviewees as having been the crux of
the enrollment decline onset. As suggested by one interviewee, "The
major cut in personnel at West Campus was confined to the elimination
of adjunct faculty and the support areas." The individuals interviewed
suggested that morale at West Campus declined the year of the cap, due
to all part-time faculty having been released, and no new sections or
programs were allowed to be opened. A majority of full-time faculty
interviewed felt that since the slack in staffing was eliminated, they
may be next. One individual offered an ironic juxtaposition to the
morale issue, "As part-timers were released a tangential mood developed,
conflicting in effect. When the part-time faculty and the respective
sections were cut, the full-time faculty classes filled. This tended to
increase full-time faculty morale." One other repercussion of the enroll-
ment decline suggested, was that the grapevine at West Campus had become
much more volatile. It was felt that increased resources were needed
if the campus as a whole stayed on top of rumors.
The researcher received similar responses regarding the status of
planning at College B. The main theme was that most planning and
research was by legislative intent and design rather than by the local
needs basis. A majority of the interviewees suggested that very little
planning existed on the campuses, and that significant reliance was
placed on the District Offices. One person offered that, "The forecasts
and predictions regarding enrollments at College B consistently showed
an increase, thus perhaps lulling the staff into a mood of 'why worry?'"
The interviewees mentioned that preceding the enrollment decline, very
little market research was conducted to ascertain the specifics of
the potential market dimensions of the college service area.
The counteractive strategies considered and/or implemented at
College B were presented in a District Office, East Campus, and West
Campus- format. A majority of the interviewees suggested that when enroll-
ment was down, the institution must react immediately with budget control
since paybacks, based on unmet projected enrollment were due to the
state the following year. As one person expressed, "The institution
scrutinized all budgets during year one of the decline. Since the state
debits the college during the subsequent year, the college must be
financially stable at the end of the initial decline year." One budgetary
tactic that was implemented at College B was the use of "Lapse Time
Savings" in covering college expenditures. "Lapse Time Savings" refers
to money accumulated by a change in employees, including the time each
position was vacant and the hiring of less expensive replacements. As
one interviewee mentioned, "This fund was used in tight spots, and
since the enrollment decline, this fund had been depleted." If a con-
tingency or sinking fund were legal in the State, 8.5% of the operating
budget was suggested as an appropriate figure.
One person interviewed suggested that, "Steps were taken to
strengthen the management system at College B." A majority of the
respondents felt that an excellent data base was vital for competent
decision making as was a strong management team. Another high priority
strategy was offered by one respondent, "The development of a competent
investment program that was monitored daily." The interviewees sug-
gested that the personnel situation at an institution the size of College
B was continually in need of monitoring especially when coping with
declining or stagnant enrollments. To this end, the personnel director
and all campus provosts met weekly to discuss the status of College B
staffing as compared to projected needs. Personnel review and staff
planning were essential and flexible patterns were sought across the
board, as expressed by a majority of the respondents. Improved planning
was also viewed as vital to the future success of the institution. One
benchmark offered was that "Historically if enrollment was 40% of the
annual projections by December, the college met the annual goal."
Hiring standards became more sensitive to the applicants' experience
and quality. Most persons interviewed suggested that the full-time
personnel needs tended to gravitate more towards the generalist than
the specialist. Internal budgetary scrutiny included deferring
maintenance which was viewed by the respondents as being very dangerous
in the long run; and eliminating areas of the instruction budget such as
travel, conferences, and selective equipment acquisitions.
The ability of the institution personnel to provide services to
the service area was suggested as a primary strategy to counteract
enrollment decline. Needs assessment, program and course alignments,
and follow-up were most often suggested as positive elements that
were initiated to deal with the enrollment decline. Interviewees
mentioned that specific efforts in this direction had been initiated
to approach the handicapped in the Allentown area. It was cited that
there were some 55,000 handicapped in the area but only 500 attended
College B. As one person expressed, "As new markets were recruited by
College B personnel, in-service efforts were implemented to enlighten
the staff as to the particulars of the new student population." Most
persons interviewed suggested that ideally, as new programs and courses
were implemented to meet student needs, continual program fine tuning
and the market analysis of program need helped eliminate the marginal
Mentioned by the respondents was that need assessment efforts,
since the initiation of the decline, yielded increased concentration
toward the adult and continuing education area. Also of significance,
as offered by the interviewees, was the occupational credit and non-
credit areas and the closely developed relationship between these areas
and the state, industries, and agencies to provide educational services
such as in-service.
The developmental area was viewed as providing a needed student
service that tapped new student populations. Even though this program
was a high cost area, it was viewed as a needed challenge not an
obstacle. Further specific strategies that were suggested by the
interviewees was that some of the administrators taught one class per
year to help alleviate the part-time/overload budget; and that the
faculty were encouraged to take two term, rather than three or four
term contracts. A majority of the interviewees felt that early retire-
ment incentive plans would have been much more attractive and participated
in if they were more economically practical.
As previously mentioned, College B did not have a retrenchment
policy that was operationally ready. Most persons interviewed suggested
that, since the initial decline in enrollment, discussions had been on-
going as to the appropriate elements to include in a retrenchment policy.
When the interviewees were asked what the elements of a retrenchment
policy should be, a majority of the respondents suggested student evalua-
tions, demonstrable skills, community service, seniority, and the with-
drawal rate from classes. It was also suggested that a pattern of annual
performance evaluations could be used to aid in a selection process.
The interviewees at East Campus suggested that a new mindset had
developed to deal with the decline. As one person expressed, "During
the first year of the enrollment decline the personnel were shocked;
in the second year counteractive actions were increased." It was further
offered that some counteractivities were implemented during year one.
Most persons interviewed mentioned that flexibility was gained in the
salary budgets, at East Campus since five faculty vacancies were not
filled. As offered by one respondent, "Natural attrition was allowed
to trim the full-time staff and part-time faculty were used when the
demand existed. It was suggested that prior to scrutinizing the instruc-
tional budgets at East Campus, all non-instructional budgets were
scrutinized. As suggested by one person, "The support staff that remained
had increased responsibilities." Concurrent to the decrease in enroll-
ment was the added burden of preparations to complete and occupy a new
campus. Most persons interviewed mentioned that this further added to
the complexity of a relatively stable staff and decreased full-time
equivalent units and revenue. The individuals interviewed felt that
hiring standards were more selective.
As one individual expressed, "In an attempt to bolster enrollments
at East Campus, tuition was waived for senior citizens and classes were
scheduled whenever and wherever wanted." East Campus respondents also
suggested that the student financial aid packages offered by the federal
and state governments had been very helpful for enrollments. Also men-
tioned as having been advantageous for student retention was the orienta-
tion of all work study students at the initiation of employment, placing
them with faculty they responded to and interviewing them every
term to insure all was progressing well. The respondents at East
Campus presented the development of a Goal Inventory as potential in
better understanding what students expect from College B. As offered
by one person, "This Goal Inventory also helped College B personnel
better understand what the students want, therefore help identify where
to allocate resources." Also frequently mentioned were the Graduation
Status Sheets which contained updated data on the student performance
from term to term. Through utilization of this status sheet, advise-
ment was aided and it was suggested that counselor time was substantially
cut. The Graduation Sheet also served as the student's graduation
record, and it was expressed that this saved duplication of records in
the graduation phases of the institution.
A majority of the individuals interviewed believed that East Campus
had become more comprehensive operations through the provision of a much
wider range of services to the service areas. In all areas of educational
services, East Campus personnel suggested that good instruction yields
good word of mouth; thus the self-perpetuating nature of the institution
was perpetuated. It was further suggested that even though a college wide
image was critical, each campus developed its own image and this micro-
realm necessitated continual monitoring. As one interviewee offered,
"To this end, program review was ongoing and if needs assessment was
adequately conducted on a periodic basis, legitimate educational service
decisions were better made." Respondents frequently suggested that market
information collected since the enrollment fluctuations had indicated
that market dimensions related to East Campus include a service popula-
tion of mostly black, female, and adult, and many of these individuals
did not intend to seek a degree. Also viewed significant was a decrease
in advanced and professional and occupational credit enrollment and an
increase in occupational non-credit and adult and continuing education
enrollment, resulting in a decrease in full-time students.
Suggested by most persons interviewed was that East Campus personnel
had initiated a very aggressive recruiting program including outreach,
radio advertising for short run effect, and television advertising for a
long run effect. An example of the outreach efforts was appropriately
evidenced in the Home Economics Department. The department staff had
increased the availability of offerings at Cloth World and Phelps
Fabrics store locations. Occupational non-credit classes, generating
full-time equivalent units, increased from four in January of 1973, to
43 in January of 1979. The respondents also suggested that the faculty
participated in the recruitment process to gain optimum effectiveness
of the advertising campaign. Also viewed vital was the necessity of
honest advertising. It was suggested that to further increase the ac-
cessibility of College B to the service area, inter-campus registration
was utilized. East Campus personnel offered that further steps had been
taken to deal with the alignment of the student personnel service staff
with the recruitment, retention, and referral needs of the potential
clientele. In-service for student personnel service career employees
was utilized to develop basic competencies in communication skills, prob-
lem solving, and referral. As expressed by one interviewee, "By design,
the in-service was directed to the retention issue and other student
The respondents at East Campus further suggested that long range
planning was vital so that premature actions were not taken on varied
educational decisions, such as reacting to an enrollment decline too
hastily. With regard to the planning assistance received at East Campus
from the Division of Community Colleges, one interviewee mentioned that,
"Increased assistance would have been appreciated greatly, especially in
the interpretation of service area needs determination procedures, and
overall forecasting." A majority of those interviewed suggested that
early retirement incentive programs would have been more attractive if
they were more economically practical.
Most individuals interviewed at West Campus suggested that when
enrollment fluctuated, the equipment-capital outlay budget was scrutinized
first followed by the current expense budget. When the need surfaced to
constrict the West Campus staff no retrenchment of continuing contract
personnel was required. A majority of the respondents felt that this was
a fortunate situation since no retrenchment policy was in existence. A
major situation which was suggested as having allowed the avoidance of
retrenchment, was that since the early-1970's, attempts were made at
West Campus to cover expansion with full-time faculty overload and part-
time faculty. No new full-time faculty were added as suggested by a majority
of the interviewees, this affected morale. Suggested by most persons inter-
viewed was that due to the available flexibility in part-time personnel,
retrenchment was not implemented. Earlier funding status from the state
was viewed as a major ingredient in flexibility, "The sooner the notifica-
tion, the more potential flexibility." Also viewed as significant to
flexibility was the change in hiring standards. As one person expressed,
"Staff needs were viewed from an institutional need, overall ability, and
multi-use staff basis." It was mentioned that to this end, West Campus
had implemented cross-campus faculty assignments which assisted in
covering full-time faculty loads.
A major theme expressed at West Campus was that the campus became
more comprehensive and much more receptive to serving the service area
students. The time/place availability of courses was viewed as having
responded accordingly. Day classes decreased in number while night classes
increased. Career education had grown to approximately 200 centers for
varied course offerings off campus. One respondent mentioned that "When
eight or more classes go at one location, the Adult Education Center was
assigned a part-time administrator. These courses generated full-time
equivalent units, utilized 225 part-time faculty per term, and employed 35
part-time administrators per term." Most of the Adult Education Centers
were located in local high schools during the evening hours. Most persons
interviewed at West Campus suggested that the staff recruited aggres-
sively utilizing communication channels to business, industry, agencies,
senior citizens, handicapped, and foreign students in an attempt to
further increase the outreach programming.
Further suggested was that in an attempt to provide the needed
services to students once they had enrolled, the implementation of the
Goals Inventory and Retention Study were viewed positively. Also viewed
vital to the students were the financial aid packages that were made avail-
able. A number of respondents suggested that a human resource seminar
was implemented so that students could better understand what West
Campus provided, and that they received what they expected. Further,
it was suggested that the student personnel Service area increased in-
service to the staff and faculty regarding student goals, retention, and
image building. Other in-service activities were suggested for the oc-
cupational program directors with a goal of improved communication
processes with potential students and employers. This was viewed as
building better bridges with those individuals that hired graduates.
A majority of the interviewees felt that early retirement
incentive programs would have been more attractive if they were
more economically practical. The suggested ratio of part-time faculty
to full-time faculty was approximately 20% part-time to 80% full-time,
or 15% of the operating budget. This was derived via the following
rationale. Assume a budget of $15 million, with an average salary
allocation of 80% or $12 million. If 15% of the $15 million budget
is $2.25 million and the total staff allocation is $12 million, then
the part-time allocation of $2.25 million was actually 18% or a ratio
of part-time to full-time expenditures of approximately 1:4 or 20%
part-time to 80% full-time.
Summary: College B
Prior to the enrollment decline at College B, explosive enroll-
ment growth had been the pattern. When the enrollment decline occurred
the attitude among the college personnel was that the enrollment was
merely stabilizing based on the dynamics of the service area. This
was suggested as having contributed to the moderate college recruitment
drive in the service area. After the initial growth and subsequent
full-time equivalent unit decline, College B was overstaffed. The
interviewees at College B further suggested that the enrollment cap
and the state funding categories contributed to the decreased impetus
for enrollment. Expressed by most persons interviewed as contributing
to the enrollment fluctuations at each campus visited was that as the
college expanded and new facilities became operational, the inter-campus
shifting of courses and programs contributed to declining enrollment.
The initial year of the enrollment decline at College B was one
of growing awareness of problems associated with the enrollment decline
along with the onset of discussions regarding potential tactics to
counter the decrease in enrollment. A majority of the respondents
suggested that the actual financial burden of a decrease in fundable
full-time equivalent units occurred during the year following the
enrollment decline. A majority of the interviewees at East Campus
suggested that due to the restricted budgets and the projections of
enrollment stabilization the dimensions of the new campus under construc-
tion were reduced. At West Campus the new building program had been
completed just prior to the enrollment decline, and no facility
modification was made. A majority of the interviewees at College B
mentioned that most of the available maintenance, buildings, and
grounds budget was allocated to keep the college operational. Most
persons interviewed suggested that in an attempt to stabilize enroll-
ment and live with the deletion-of many part-time faculty due to
budgetary confinements, no new course sections were opened during
the later phases of registration. Interviewees inferred that the image
of the college was negatively affected since some students turned
elsewhere to find the courses they desired. A majority of the respondents
expressed that the personnel realm of the institution was affected most
by the enrollment decline. One person expressed that, "The fact that
no continuing contract personnel were retrenched, was dependent on the
college administrators' ability to eliminate part-time and non-continuing
contract personnel." A majority of the interviewees at College B
suggested that very little planning existed on the campuses, and that
very little market research was conducted to ascertain the specifics
of the potential service area dimensions.
The counteractive strategies utilized at College B included
budget constriction, increased emphasis on management information
systems, increased internal communication, and the increased utiliza-
tion of part-time staff when staff additions were necessitated. Im-
proved planning was viewed as vital to the future success of the
college as was a strong management team. Also implemented at College
B were the strategies of needs assessment, student goal inventory,
follow-up, and student retention activities. The developmental area
was viewed as providing a needed student service that tapped new
student populations. Even though this program was a high cost area,
it was viewed as a needed challenge not an obstacle. A majority of
the interviewees at College B mentioned that flexibility was gained
in the salary budgets by redlining or not filling vacated positions.
Evolution of the Setting: College C
College C is a fully accredited, public comprehensive community
college and is one of the newest in the state community college system.
Established to serve the 640,000 residents of the support county, this
community college offers university parallel, career, and community
service programs at locations throughout the area. The college opened
in 1968 with an initial student enrollment of approximately 1,600
students with 17 faculty and administrative staff members. The enroll-
ment has grown to more than 13,500 with a full-time staff numbering
over 500 persons.
The largest of the college's four campuses, West Campus, was the
home of the first major building constructed by College C. West
Campus services the northern metropolitan areas of the county. The
South Campus located in center-city housed the administrative offices,
health-related programs, and the college data processing programs.
Educational programming of the South Campus was conducted under the
auspices of the West Campus. A third campus of College C was located
in the eastern portion of this community college support area. Located
on an 80 acre wooded site, most general education courses were available
at the East Campus. Occupancy of the first permanent building at East
Campus began in the fall of 1977. The fourth and newest of the College
C campuses, North Campus, was located in the urban Latin Quarter District.
This campus was opened in April 1974, with business administration,
fine arts, and safety science areas which served as a major part of