Marquette University announced Thursday it laid off 24 staff members and will leave nearly 50 current and future vacancies unfilled.
In an email to “Marquette colleagues,” President Michael Lovell wrote that the total reduction comes out to 2.5% of the school’s 2,926 faculty and staff.
University spokeswoman Lynn Griffith said all 73 eliminated roles are staff positions.
In an August letter to employees, Lovell cited impending demographic changes as a reason for asking campus leadership to examine how to save operational costs. He cited researcher Nathan Grawe’s prediction that the Midwest’s trends in birth rates will mean “declines of 15 to 25 percent of college-age students.”
“The goal was to determine proactive solutions to remain financially strong, realizing we cannot continue to increase tuition at our recent pace because the burden is too great for our students and their families,” Lovell wrote in a letter announcing the cuts Thursday.
Griffith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday that the university’s enrollment was within “our normal target range.”
However, she added that the university saw an increase in competition for students during the admissions process this year, especially in Illinois, one of Marquette’s top feeder states. That rising competition is expected to continue, Griffith said.
Lovell added in his letter that there are no further anticipated cuts, and hiring in areas that “serve our students and support growing academic programs or strategic areas of focus within our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries,” are expected to continue.
In addition to the reductions, Lovell acknowledged other changes coming to Marquette’s academic structure. The Department of Student Affairs has formed a new Office of Engagement and Inclusion that combines several resource centers; the university’s police department has reorganized; and the university’s Graduate School and Graduate School of Management are centralizing enrollment management functions.
Lovell also hinted at potential changes to the university’s College of Education “aimed at achieving new efficiencies.”
Lovell’s letter stressed that this was a difficult day for the Jesuit school. “The process of balancing cura personalis, care for the whole person, and cura apostolic, care for the work and the enterprise, requires constant assessment and adaptation, and it is almost never without tension,” he said.
“Unfortunately, these industry challenges are not merely an inflection point — they are an ongoing state of turbulence for higher education,” Lovell wrote in August. “While Marquette is currently on solid financial footing, we must change both now and in the coming years to navigate this continued turbulence.”