Date: August 18, 2022
To: MICA Faculty & Staff
From: Samuel Hoi, President
Subject: FY23 Organizational Restructuring & Path to Recovery
Dear MICA Faculty and Staff,
This memo summarizes the sharing on four important topics at the Town Hall yesterday.
Fall 2022 Enrollment Forecast
When you were briefed about MICA’s lack of enrollment recovery for first-year undergraduates at the May 10 Town Hall, it was stated that both recruitment and retention efforts would continue over the summer. To date, new applications and deposits since May 10 have largely countered the traditional summer melt. Thus far, both recruitment and retention indicators point towards an undergraduate population and graduate population as forecasted in May. Because August is a critical month for summer melt monitoring of new students who have deposited and returning students, final enrollment outcomes cannot be confirmed until early Fall. The enrollment census date when Fall enrollment count is formally recorded for MICA is October 15.
Summer 2022 Restructuring
Having absorbed three academic years of reduced campus-based student cohorts since Fall 2020, MICA is effectively a smaller residential college. This summer’s restructuring reflects this reality and is organizationally responsible.
At the June 29 Town Hall, it was shared that approximately 24 staffed positions would be eliminated as a result of the restructuring. After further reviews and planning, a final total of 19 positions—15 staffed and 4 unstaffed—have been eliminated. The impact is distributed among all ranks. The 19 positions* are listed below:
*Names are not shared because some individuals indicated a preference for privacy in the context of a public announcement.
- Associate Director, Transfer Admission & Special Events Admissions, Non-Union
- Director, Creative Citizenship Creative Citizenship, Non-Union
- Events Coordinator Events, Non-Union
- College Archivist (unstaffed) Library, non-classified
- Digital Curation & Audiovisual Archives Specialist (unstaffed) Library, non-classified
- Digital Projects Specialist (unstaffed) Library, non-classified
- Resource Sharing Coordinator (unstaffed) Library, non-classified
- Community Liaison Strategic Initiatives, Non-Union
- Events Coordinator Strategic Initiatives, Non-Union
- Vice President, Strategic Initiatives Strategic Initiatives, Non-Union
- PT Data Entry Clerk Admissions, Staff Union
- PT Data Entry Clerk Admissions, Staff Union
- Fulbright Program Advisor Career Development, Staff Union
- Program Manager Creative Citizenship, Staff Union
- Associate Director Events, Staff Union
- Administrative Assistant President’s Office, Staff Union
- Grants Specialist Research, Staff Union
- Program Specialist Research, Staff Union
- Manager, Content and In-house Creative Strategic Communications, Staff Union
Again, the position elimination decisions are based on the positions and not the individuals in the positions. We deeply appreciate the contributions each and all of our impacted colleagues have brought to MICA.
While the restructuring component that involves reduction of positions helps to balance the budget for this fiscal year, the overall rationale behind the restructuring decisions has been guided by the following institutional principles. Some examples are provided below.
- Adaptation: The higher education environment that is foreseeably volatile. MICA must sustain a realistic scale of operation and be able to adapt to changing circumstances.
- The reduction in workforce this summer is necessitated by the contrasting facts of the smaller residential undergraduate college and the growth in staff positions during past years (in comparison, full-time faculty positions have seen an organic reduction over time).
- The Office of Events positions have been impacted because the pandemic has greatly reduced the demand for event support and the once sizable auxiliary income generated by external event rental. Scaling back and rethinking of the unit shows responsible adaptation.
- The Decker Library and Office of Research staffing is scaled back some, but both areas are still resourced to provide the needed services.
- Focus: MICA’s core mission is education. In challenging times, we must re-focus on basics and cost control in order to marshal allocation of resources among competing priorities.
- Very hard decisions have to be made in Creative Citizenship and Strategic Initiatives. Civic engagement and Baltimore commitments remain critical elements of our broader mission and vision. One reason we can streamline on these fronts is because our existing strengths and continued efforts are represented in other structures at the College.
- Optimization: MICA must continue to improve internal operations and workflow through productive consolidation to gain efficiency and effectiveness.
- The implementation of a new Customer Relations Management (CRM) platform Slate in Admissions reduces the need of part-time data-entry positions. An example that does not involve position elimination is the migration of the Open Studies marketing positions into Strategic Communications so that all academic units—Graduate, Undergraduate, and Open Studies—can be served and promoted through a centralized and more collaborative approach.
As shared previously, being disciplined, living within our means, and focusing on core activities will serve well our pandemic recovery and our allocation of resources. Regardless of enrollment size, MICA is committed to addressing affordability and adaptive change as a college of art and design in contemporary society. In doing so, the College must reexamine the traditional cost structure of academia, maximize the return our students receive on their investment in MICA, and continue to look for more sustainable ways to operate as an institution of higher education. Based on its mission, MICA is continually assessing the what, how, and why of its offering and services. This summer’s restructuring reflects such assessment and adaptation and helps ensure that the MICA of today is poised to thrive in the post-pandemic landscape of tomorrow.
Following is the adjusted workflow information for areas impacted by the restructuring:
- In Admissions, the limited scope of transfer recruitment is being incorporated into other undergraduate recruitment roles. Admission events will be handled via a team approach under the oversight of the Executive Director of Undergraduate Admission.
- Outreach that would previously go to the Center for Creative Citizenship should be directed as follows –
- All requests related to CAC (Community Art Collaborative) and AmeriCorps can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org whose position has been relocated to Graduate Studies.
- All Voter Access Initiative (VAI) requests can be directed to email@example.com.
- All other requests can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In Events, please continue to contact the Office of Events (at email@example.com) for assistance.
- Questions about applications for the Fulbright Program will now be handled by the Office of International Education (at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- In Research, please continue to contact the Office of Research (at email@example.com) for assistance.
- In Strategic Communications, requests previously handled by the Manager of Content and In-house Creative should be directed to the Creative Director of Strategic Communications (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Outreach that would previously go to the Office of Strategic Initiatives should be directed to the Director of Strategic Projects (at email@example.com); that position is joining the Office of the President.
- Previously a part of Strategic Initiative, the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is joining People, Belonging & Culture with the same contact information (at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Harder to quantify and too spread across campus to be summarized here is the workflow adjustment due to the hiring freeze for vacant positions. Crucial points in relation to vacant position are as follows:
- The most critical vacant positions will be filled when hiring is jointly approved by the area vice presidents and People, Belonging & Culture.
- Since most vacant positions will be frozen in this fiscal year, there should be a realistic assessment of the workload for the existing staff. Staff, supervisors, and area vice presidents will collaborate in such assessment and in new ways to work.
- People, Belonging & Culture will work with the MICA Staff Union to address workload adjustments for positions in the bargaining unit.
- While adaptive reduction in services in some areas is inevitable, the student experience is prioritized for delivery.
Path to Recovery
MICA is a tight-knit and relational campus community. Elimination of occupied positions is painful because they mean letting go of colleagues, coworkers, and friends – and some with long histories with us. A process involving negotiation is always longer than we hope it would be, and the wait for information only added to the stress under difficult circumstances. The human impact and the consequence on morale is very real. Now that this summer restructuring is completed, we must find ways together to heal and forge a path to recovery.
This path to recovery has two intertwined goals. One goal is the recovery of our workplace community. The other goal is the recovery of a forward momentum of our enrollment. They are intertwined because one cannot do without the other. We need the hope, stability, and resources made possible by enrollment recovery to sustain the people at MICA, MICA the institution, and our capacity to fulfill our educational mission. We need the healthy morale and teamwork of all employees at MICA – staff, faculty, and administration – to achieve the enrollment recovery. Therefore, we must fiercely focus on these two absolute priority goals this academic and fiscal year.
We will embark to set and share this Fall a realistic undergraduate enrollment recovery goal for Fall 2023 that shows momentum and brings enough stability. With the appropriate team input, we can set sight on growing back up for Fall 2023 a residential undergraduate population, inclusive of new first-year and transfer students, that is somewhere between the Fall 2022 size and our pre-pandemic level. Growth is achievable, and it will pave our way well to fuller recovery in Fall 2024. Please stay tune for more information on this front.
To rebuild our workplace morale and focus the campus community on mission-based work and outcomes, we will need to conduct some very frank dialogues and listen to each other. The administration should set the framework and ask faculty and staff representatives to share their ideas and input as to how best to engage their peers to restore morale and readiness for more aspiration work to drive us forward. There is real love for and belief in MICA, its revival has to be community-led and not driven from the top.
More to come on our path to recovery efforts. I hope this sharing of our recovery goals resonates, and I look forward to working on achieving these recovery goals with you.
Office of the President
Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 West Mt. Royal Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217