KWC cutting positions, athletic programs for ‘future sustainability’

October 20, 2023 | 12:10 am

Updated October 20, 2023 | 12:11 am

Thomas Mitzel

Kentucky Wesleyan College on Thursday announced a series of organizational changes “to align itself for future stability,” including the elimination of positions and multiple athletic programs.

According to a release from the college, “KWC administration helped guide the strategic and structural changes to align with enrollment trends and efficiencies for longer-term challenges.

Changes being made across campus, per the release, include:

  • Elimination of positions, some of which are already vacant
  • Certain athletic programs
  • Comprehensive review and adjustment of contractual partnerships
  • Adjusted projections related to enrollment (on-campus and online)”

“During the course of our 165-year history, Kentucky Wesleyan College has adapted and adjusted to changing times with the incredible support of our alumni, friends, and community partners,” President Dr. Thomas Mitzel said in the release. “The impact this realignment and restructuring has on our KWC family members is what makes it incredibly difficult. However, it is necessary for the long-term sustainability of the College.”

According to the release, impacted employees will receive compensation through November 30. Those currently using KWC tuition remission benefits for themselves or their dependents will continue to receive an equivalent scholarship through normal degree completion.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), KWC had 96 total staff members in Fall 2022.

KWC Athletics announced Thursday they will discontinue their men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs. Men’s bowling and the cheer team will be reclassified as “self-funded club sports,” according to the release.

All scholarships for impacted student-athletes will also be honored through degree completion, according to the KWC release. The college “will work to avoid associated costs for any student-athlete who chooses to withdraw” from the KWC at the end of this semester, according to the release.

“This is a very difficult day for KWC Athletics, several of our student-athletes and coaches, and a number of our teams,” Vice President of Athletics Mark Shook said in a release. “A decision like this is never easy. My heart aches for our coaches and student-athletes who are impacted by these unfortunate, yet necessary, actions.”

The athletics release said KWC is “not immune to the growing challenge nationwide to meet the financial resources needed to maintain competitive intercollegiate athletics.”

“The hard truth is that we cannot continue to support such a high number of intercollegiate programs given the reduction of tuition revenue that is being generated currently by fewer number of students who are attending colleges across the country,” Shook said. “We have to reduce our sport offerings to better match our resources, facilities, and staff within our athletic program.”

According to the NCES site, KWC reported 813 total students in their undergraduate programs at the start of the Fall 2022 semester. They report shows 430 students were participating on a varsity team in Fall 2022, accounting for roughly 50% of the student population.

This story may be updated.

October 20, 2023 | 12:10 am

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