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Bradley Weighing Staff Reductions, Athletic Expansion to Close $8M Deficit


Bradley University is weighing cuts and new programs to tackle an $8 million budget deficit.

In an e-mail obtained by WCBU, University Senate President Ahmad Fakheri said two forums will be held for the university's faculty and staff later this month with President Gary Roberts to discuss ideas to cut costs, bolster revenue, and "where appropriate, additional investment to put Bradley on a sustainable long-term path."

The e-mail cites Bradley's "short and long-term challenges." It was sent Nov. 1, the same day the university celebrated the dedication of its new $100 million Business and Engineering Convergence Center. 

Some of the ideas under consideration include shrinking the size of the faculty and support staff, reducing compensation and benefits, restructuring colleges and departments, downsizing or eliminating the graduate school, offering nine-month contracts to some staff, and creating incentives for full-time staff to switch to part-time status.

On the student side, the university is weighing a switch to optional ACT and SAT score submission for applicants. Knox College and Monmouth College also recently adopted that policy. 

Other measures on the table include taking steps to boost graduate school enrollment, significantly boosting the university's marketing budget from a quarter percent to up to 5 percent of overall university spending, and starting up new athletic programs like eSports, women's club hockey, club bowling and women's varsity soccer.

Other bullet items include investing in technology upgrades and increasing investment in student success and retention initiatives. 

The ideas have been shared previously with some administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as the Board of Trustees. The two forums on campus later this month will expand those talks into a campuswide conversation. 

The forums are not open to the public or media. Bradley is a private university.

University spokeswoman Renee Charles says there is no timeframe for potential implementation of any of the measures on the table, but said there is a need for some kind of action based on the "impending changes facing the industry of higher ed."

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.