String of Job Cuts/No Fund Raising Income/Enrollment Down
Director (Former Employee) – Chicago, IL – October 26, 2015
From all-time enrollment high in 2009, the college has dipped in student count, employee count and reputation in the past three years.
Good management and vision is sorely lacking here. More than two years after new CEO's arrival in July 2013, Columbia's enrollment is nearing a 10-year low. Strong experienced leadership is lacking at all the C-suite levels. Student recruitment is continuing a downward spiral. And paranoia has filled the staff and faculty ranks. Co-workers care about the institution but often spend the day discussing where the next program or employee cuts will be made after severe cuts the past year and early retirement packages extended in spring 2015 to help shore up financial blood loss with no fund raising efforts to back fill budgets.
Benefits are exceptional and low cost; however, salaries are well below national averages and below Chicago educational comps.
A typical day at work involved reading The Columbia Chronicle for the latest scoop on administrative issues, reorgs, and leadership snafus as the leadership takes on "Redefining Greatness" as smoke and mirrors motto for the sinking ship aka "right sizing" efforts.
The most difficult part of the job is watching long-timers try to rally liberal arts students - to stay in school while they accrue massive student debt, leaving Columbia among the highest rates of student loan default in the country. The college also has one of the lower graduation rates in the country.
Benefits at low cost; core of caring employees; good work/life balance 9-5 schedules;
Poor inexperienced leadership at senior level, string of funding and job cuts, student debt and low graduation rates as poor recuitment selling points