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Final Retrenchment Plan Announcement

HomeNews StoriesHomepage NewsHomepage NewsFinal Retrenchment Plan Announcement

Approved Retrenchment Plan

November 30, 2023

Based on feedback from the staff, academic departments, faculty, faculty governance committees, alumni, community members, board members, and others, the leadership team has modified the original proposals in several ways as indicated below.  The complete, final retrenchment plan and the full impact of the voluntary early separation program, described below, reduces the FY24 budget by $479,575 and the FY25 budget by an additional $1,852,197, totaling $2,331,772 in FY25.

Strikethrough indicates the removal from the original proposal and is not included for elimination. Italicized indicates an addition to the retrenchment proposal.


Academic Programs

The precise timeline for program closure will be determined after careful review of student files.  Fontbonne will offer transfer or teach-out agreements for all students unable to finish at Fontbonne, but we will also offer some free coursework and waive certain other costs to assist students in finishing with us. The following undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as the Intensive English program (IEP), will be eliminated.


  • Actuarial Science
  • Art
  • Communication, Culture, and Change
  • Data Science
  • Deaf Education (Pause new enrollment to allow for review)
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Fashion Merchandising
  • Fine Art
  • Game Development
  • Global Studies
  • Health Education & Promotion
  • Healthcare Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Medical Lab Sciences
  • Middle School Education
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Work


  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Ed.D. in Collaborative High Impact Instruction
  • Fine Art
  • Instructional Design and Technology
  • Speech-Language Pathology Kansas City location
  • Supply Chain Management

To assist as many students as possible in completing their degree, the art and fine art programs will be extended until at least spring 2025.


Faculty Positions

The voluntary early separation program (VESP) has been offered to eligible faculty, and some of the reductions below are met by acceptance of these offers.  The timeline for each is determined by contractual obligations and program needs.  Overall, a total of nineteen faculty positions are proposed below for elimination:

  • Five tenured, full-time art faculty (one met by VESP)
  • Two full-time faculty in deaf education (one met by VESP)
  • One full-time faculty member in early childhood (met by VESP)
  • Three full-time faculty in speech-language pathology (two from KC location)
  • One full-time faculty in education/special education (met by VESP)
  • One Two full-time faculty in biological and behavioral sciences (met by phased retirement of senior faculty member)
  • One full-time faculty in family and consumer sciences
  • One full-time faculty member in humanities (non-renewal of term faculty)
  • One full-time faculty member in mathematics and computer science (non-renewal of term faculty)
  • One full-time faculty member in business (met by VESP)
  • A vacant faculty position in nursing will remain unfilled
  • One full-time faculty member in social work
  • Three additional faculty from humanities chose the VESP
  • One additional faculty member from Social Work and Criminal Justice chose the VESP


Staff Positions

In light of the reduced number of faculty and academic departments, the academic dean position is eliminated, and the dean will return to full-time teaching in spring 2024.

Staff reductions are two full-time positions and four part-time positions.

  • Two full-time staff positions were eliminated, one in the Office of the Registrar and one in Information Technology, and severance was provided.
  • Three part-time staff positions (biological and behavior sciences, fine arts, and education/special education) will be eliminated.  One will be extended to May, one will have reduced hours but be extended to May, and one will be extended until February, with salary for each coming from department temporarily restricted (fund 20) accounts.
  • Campus nurse services are also eliminated at the end of spring 2024.

In addition, the following positions will remain unfilled.

  • Admissions processor, Admissions Department
    • One person in financial services will assist admissions half-time with processing
  • Two vacant positions in the Office of Admissions
  • Administrative assistant, Department of Humanities
  • Administrative Assistant, Kinkel Center (not in FY24 budget)
  • VP for Advancement (not in FY24 budget)
  • Special Advisor to the President for DEI (not in FY24 budget)
  • Director of Service and Spirituality (not in FY24 budget)
  • Systems librarian (not in FY24 budget)


Operating Expenses

University-wide – Eliminate nonessential travel and professional development.  The university will absorb all increased health insurance costs holding premiums and benefits constant.  In addition, each division has implemented cost-containment measures.

Academic Affairs – Reduce various department operation budgets by amount of FY23 underspend, reduce expenses for software contracts, reduce library collections, pause sabbaticals for 2024-25, eliminate Research and Creative Activity release program, discussion about voluntary load increase, consider other options for low-enrolled courses, consolidate academic departments.

Athletics – Eliminate eSports program, reduce uniform/equipment expenses and pay through fundraising activities, adjust insurance expenses, reductions to sport operating budgets.

Enrollment Management and Marketing/Communications – Reduce vendor contracts, reduce internal marketing lines, and reduce international operating budgets.

Finance and Administration – Pause computer refresh through FY25, pause NSSE administration.

President’s Office – Reduce operating lines for institutional memberships, travel, and others.

Student Affairs – Reduce Service and Spirituality operating budget, reduce student activity allocation, explore termination reduce amount of SpectrumU contract.


Update – December 1, 2023 – 1 p.m.

Yesterday, we sent a press release to local media contacts. Additionally, we invited questions from the media to which we agreed to respond if submitted by 9 a.m. today. Below are the responses to the questions we received by that time.

Q: Which programs are being cut and when? 

A: The full list is available in the announcement memo online. The precise timeline for program closure will be determined in the near future.

Q: How many faculty are being cut and when? What do those faculty do? 

A: The timeline is determined by contractual obligations and program needs. Overall, eighteen faculty positions will be eliminated.

Qs: Why do the total cuts amount to less than half of the budget shortfall, and how does this put Fontbonne on a path to financial stability? Are these budget cuts a stop-gap measure and can we expect to see further cuts next year? Are these budget cuts a stop-gap measure and can we expect to see further cuts next year? What is Fontbonne’s plan for long-term sustainability as enrollment is expected to continue on a downward trend? 

A: The budget cuts were unavoidable and serve as a critical step to eliminating the total budget deficit. We continue to execute and pursue cost-savings and revenue generating strategies.

Q: The letter from Nancy Blattner to faculty and staff says there will be an annual salary adjustment of 1% effective January 1, 2024. Is that a salary raise or reduction of 1%? How will the salaries of Blattner and the rest of the executive leadership team be affected?

A: The 1% salary increase adjustment uniformly impacts all employees.

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