|All Sources > The Manitou Messenger (DA-MM) > The Manitou Messenger (1916-2014) > 1969 > No. 20, Vol. 82|
Continued low enrollment prompts pruning in Russian
Author: Charles Drotning
In recent weeks there has been much talk about a possible reduction of the staff of the Russian Department and the status of the Russian major itself. In reply to this, Dean Albert Finholt announced that an administrative decision made in August has tentatively reduced the Russian faculty for 1971-1972 from two professors to one.
Finholt explained that such early action was necessitated at that time because of college rules providing a full year's notice to all faculty members -about changes in hiring. A later decision would have meant no changes in personnel could be made effective until the 1972 school year. He felt the situation was a difficult one but nevertheless action' on the dilemma was necessary then.
Continued low enrollment in upper level Russian language courses prompted the cutback. Although Russian 11 showed 29 enrolled, all courses beyond first year held under 10 students, the minimum number which must be maintained to be financially feasible. A "financial situation that is critical" partly demanded the tentative reduction. Finholt pointed out that last year was the first time in many years that both Carleton and St. Olaf have operated in a deficit. In view of steady enrollment increases in such departments as Political Science, this staff decrease is part of the college's effort to walk the financial tight-rope while maintaining the present student-faculty ratio.
The college is "hoping to maintain the major," perhaps through a "joint effort" with Carleton, Finholt said. Discussion is still in progress that might provide for "dual employment" for the faculty member in question, with Carleton and St. Olaf each paying one-half his salary.
Finholt stressed that the decision of last August was only a reduction of staff, and not an elimination of the major. Faculty action, as well as administration approval, is necessary to eliminate either a major program or a department.
Finholt also emphasized that this "pruning" action was part of the policy of yearly reassessment which has been in process for some time at St. Olaf. Usually this process has increased department size, though the "only dramatic changes" had been in the Russian and Classics Departments. These two departments were doubled in size five years ago to give them a chance to get going. The hopes of enrollment increases were not realized, however. Home Economics and Air Science have experienced similar reductions in the last ten years, also for enrollment reasons.
Finholt asserted that there is "nothing sinister" about this action, as it reflects traditional college policy for review of staffing both here at St. Olaf and elsewhere. Finholt said that fluctuations in departmental enrollments that have caused revisions in the past will continue to influence revisions in the future.