Keeping College Employees Amid COVID-19

Jacqueline Skryd
Muma Case Review  •  Volume 6  •  2021  •  pp. 001-019
COVID-19 changed so much for higher education. Traditional classrooms were vacant. They remained vacant for months. St. Petersburg College was just one of many institutions that grappled with swift and critical decisions to go online and what the environment would be for coming back. With nearly 47,000 students and 2,800 faculty and staff to consider, it was no small feat to accomplish. Budget considerations were top of mind, with volatile enrollment and unknown state funding amounts for the upcoming year. One of the biggest decisions that laid before President Tonjua Williams was how to keep employees employed as long as college resources would allow.

Dr. Williams had no idea what her budget was going to be – what the state was going to ultimately contribute; what enrollment was going to be; and how many losses were going to be incurred as a result of COVID. It was clear that the president had to plan for a shortfall for the next fiscal year. But how much? With 80% of its budget being spent on personnel, one thing was for sure, a cost savings to personnel was the only area that could make a dent.

Dr. Williams found herself contemplating options. Does she furlough everyone? Does she lay off people? Does she keep everyone on board, but implement pay cuts? She remained optimistic, but how could she limit the impact on her people during this challenging time? With a new fiscal year approaching, the decision would be even more complicated.
COVID-19, employment, college, resource dependency, higher education, budget
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