Editorial: Loyola’s next top problem — most professors want to leave


Photo credit: Hayley Hynes

If the results of Loyola’s Campus Climate Assessment are taken as the true pulse of campus, as organizers claim they should be, then the job of Loyola’s next president will be even more demanding than once thought.

That’s because in addition to well-publicized problems like budget troubles and workforce buyouts, the survey results showed another, more complicated issue.

Professors are ready to jump off the “sinking ship.”

That’s the way faculty responded in the campus climate survey, with 64 percent responding they’d considered leaving in the past year, along with 65 percent of staff responding the same. Survey consultants said four themes emerged when members of faculty and staff elaborated: “low salary, overwhelming workload, lack of support from the administration and what many respondents called the ‘sinking ship’ nature of Loyola due to institutional instability.”

And while these results may seem troubling, Interim Provost David Borofsky said they aren’t a big surprise.

“The responses you note reflect what the university has gone through over the past five years,” Borofsky said in an email inquiry from The Maroon. “The past five years have called on us to make difficult choices and to swiftly implement change, including reductions, so that we are on solid ground with a sustainable financial approach which invests in programs, resources and facilities that will best prepare Loyola for the future.”

Through measures like these, Borofsky said the university is on track to meet its goal of having a solid and sustainable future by 2019.

That’s something the interim provost should be applauded for.

He has put us on the right track financially in his first year here after failures by previous administrators — failures that put the university in the situation it’s in now.

But, as the stats clearly show, these moves have taken a toll on how faculty feel about being at Loyola. And like Borofsky said, that shouldn’t be that big of a surprise.

What might be more discouraging is that professors actually like it here, but that’s not enough to make them want to stay.

Survey results show that over 80 percent of faculty feel both valued by their department heads and others in their departments, and 84 percent of faculty and students feel either “comfortable” or “very comfortable” in classes.

Those are fantastic numbers, but juxtaposed with the results showing faculty are looking to leave, it reveals a deeper problem. Professors like it here, but they don’t think working here is sustainable for their livelihoods.

It seems the years of seeing colleagues take buyouts and receptionists being taken away from department offices have taken their toll.

Many of the decisions Loyola’s made haven’t had room for much heart. The basic sustainability of the university had to be ensured and seen through at all costs.

Administration did that, and now Loyola is on the right track.

But with a new president coming in, a time will soon come where the approach can change. When that happens, the one in charge of that new approach will have a much tougher job than the one Borofsky has now.

In a sense, he’s had the luxury of having an interim tag, meaning he can make needed cuts without having to worry about whether people like them. He’s not going to have to deal with this faculty forever, after all.

Our new president’s approach must be different, though. He or she must keep the university sound financially while also taking the feelings of faculty and students into even more serious consideration.

Sixty-four percent of faculty looking to leave just won’t do for a university president. Nor will a budget deficit. The job will be tough, in many ways, but fixing a statistic like that has to be a top priority.

Our professors like it here. Job No. 1 has to be making sure they want to stay.