19 faculty affected by proposed layoffs identified

The American Association of University Professors has announced that they will launch an investigation into Canisius College concerning the layoffs of faculty members in July.

Nineteen faculty members who have been laid off from Canisius College include faculty in seven academic programs, including a number of long-serving faculty who had tenure at the college.

The Griffin is publishing the names of 19 of the faculty members who were told their jobs were to be terminated, because those were the ones we could independently confirm, and Canisius College officials won’t release a list. 

Each faculty member targeted for layoff was given the choice between a limited teaching contract, which would end no later than the end of the Spring 2021 semester; or, the choice to leave now and receive one year’s pay instead.

Each of these faculty members we believed was on the layoff list was contacted individually via email last week by The Griffin to confirm their status after a source sent The Griffin a list of cuts on July 26.

These faculty individually confirmed their status on that list. The names were also separately confirmed by the Canisius chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

The Griffin reported earlier in July that 23 faculty cuts were anticipated, per the AAUP, though the union said that was a “developing list.” 

The union was not aware of additional cuts until Monday, bringing the total expected to 27. 

While the administration is treating these cuts as final, the AAUP is treating them as “proposed” to ensure open dialogue between the union and the administration. 

The professors potentially affected by the budgets and program cuts, as of Monday, are as follows. The year the faculty member joined Canisius is in parentheses. 

Chemistry

Dr. Roberto Gregorious (2008, voluntary separation). Tenured.

Classics (major and department to be eliminated)

Dr. Kathryn Williams (2006). Chair of the department and co-director, Institute for Classical and Medieval Studies. Tenured. 

Communications

Dr. Rosanne Hartman (2005). Tenured. 

Creative and Performing Arts (major to be eliminated)

Dr. Richard Falkenstein (2002). Chair of the department.  

Yvonne Widenor (1995). Also taught Art History.

English

Dr. Marshelle Woodward (2016). Tenure-track. 

History

Dr. Richard Bailey (2008). Chair of the department. Tenured

Dr. Bruce Dierenfield (1986, voluntary separation). Director of Canisius’ Honors Program. Tenured. 

Dr. Steve Maddox (2009). Tenured.

Management 

Dr. Sarah Woodside (2016). Tenure-track. 

Philosophy

Dr. Melissa Mosko (2012). Tenured. Co-director of Immersion East Side. 

Dr. John Zeis (1989, voluntary separation). Tenured. 

Religious Studies (major to be eliminated) 

Rev. Dr. Daniel Jamros (1985, voluntary separation). Father Jamros said he will continue to reside in Loyola Hall on campus. 

Dr. Matthew Mitchell (2008).

Dr. Timothy Wadkins (1992, voluntary separation). Founder and director, Institute for the Global Study of Religion (IGSOR) at Canisius.

Teacher Education

Dr. M. Fernanda Astiz (2002). Adolescence Education (undergraduate and graduate). Also taught Human Services and Latin American Studies.

Dr. Betsy DelleBovi (1988). Adolescence Education (undergraduate and masters) 

Dr. James Oigara (2008). Childhood/Special Education Grades 1-6 (graduate), Childhood/Special Education (undergraduate)

In addition, Dr. George Palumbo (1978) and Dr. Richard Shick (1978) told The Griffin they are retiring from teaching in a situation unrelated to the layoffs. Both were tenured members of the Economics and Finance department.

Dr. Shick said he was on a “structured retirement plan” from Canisius and with one year left, decided to forgo online classes for the year and retire. 

There is an additional faculty member each who taught counseling and management that have not been identified and a faculty member in chemistry who declined to have their name shared.

One faculty member added that some professors may be returning to teach this semester, but which professors are leaving immediately and which will stay for an additional semester or school year is not clear right now.

The proposed layoffs come as the Canisius administration looks to erase a potential $20 million deficit for the 2020-21 academic year. 

The AAUP blamed President Hurley’s office for this deficit in a statement dated July 28, citing “an inability to balance the budget” and “no clear vision for the direction of the college” over his 10 years as president. 

President Hurley said in an email to the student body on July 20 that colleges across the country are facing similar problems, such as “increased operating expenses, major hits to all forms of revenue, and declines in enrollment.” 

The cuts to faculty and programs would make $12.3 million in “adjustments,” President Hurley said. 

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