On the day that East Stroudsburg University announces its retrenchment plan, GOP activist and new PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan cheered on the faculty layoffs and the gutting of the chemistry, physics, early childhood and elementary education, physical education teacher education and psychological and counseling services What are some of the effects this restructuring plan? Well, the chemistry program will wither away to the point where only general chemistry and organic chemistry is taught – basically a general education department for biology, geology or other science students. Or the fact that cutting counseling and psychological services sounds like a great plan, which will undoubtedly increase campus safety.
Cheering on the layoffs was GOP careerist and newly canonized PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan. In an official release by East Stroudsburg University, President Marcia Walsh stated:
“We will do our utmost to minimize the impact of these changes on our students and their course of study. Students enrolled in programs within any of these departments will be able to fulfill their college experience here at ESU – the reduction of faculty positions will not affect their ability to matriculate. All students will have the opportunity to finish their degree programs at ESU. We understand this is a very upsetting time for students and their families. However, it is our duty to address budget shortfalls so ESU can continue its mission to remain student focused and continuously improve the student learning experience in preparation for the job market,”
“Sadly, that requires us to consider the reduction of some faculty and staff positions while also making modifications to some academic programs. Throughout this process, we have remained incredibly sensitive to the impact this will have on the families of some of our own; but it is a necessary step in order to keep our university a viable, competitive and first-rate academic institution. This workforce plan is one of many steps that will need to be taken in the years to come as we continue to improve efficiencies in our academic offerings and the services we deliver to students outside of the classroom. The Division of Academic Affairs will begin working with faculty to develop an academic strategic plan with a focus on continuous improvement of our academic programs relative to ensuring we continue to offer a strong liberal arts core, as well as prepare our students for the workforce.”
Then Brogan stated:
“Like practically every other public higher education system in the U.S, the PASSHE universities are engaged in strategic realignment of academic offerings to achieve this goal. East Stroudsburg University is only beginning to scratch the surface with workforce plans that include some reassignment and/or notice of retrenchment to faculty, a deeply painful but essential component of the process.
“Further, I stand behind Dr. Welsh in her assurances to students and parents of those in affected programs that they will be able to complete their coursework for graduation,” added Chancellor Brogan. “The most important work we do is to provide our students with the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful in their careers and personal lives.
“I will do all I can to help ESU – and all of our PASSHE institutions – in advocating for sufficient resources to assure our vitality and renewed growth so critical to the success of our students.”
The campaign contributions from above shows that Brogan has a history within the Florida GOP, and after Brogan was selected for PASSHE’s top spot, Kevin Mahoney provided a glimpse into Brogan’s history. Kevin Mahoney wrote:
“Long before Brogan became involved with higher education administration, he was one of the strongest proponents of vouchers and privatizing public education – a fact, we should note, that does not appear on his Wikipedia page. In 1995, Brogan was one of the 12 founding members of the Education Leaders Council (ELC). The conservative leaning Washington Times reported at the time that the ELC had an explicit conservative, pro-privatization agenda.”
As Florida’s Lieutenant Governor under Republican Jeb Bush, Brogan is credited with authoring Florida’s “Bush/Brogan A+ Plan for Education,” which, according to testimony he gave before the Florida Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families Hearing on “Academic Achievement in 1999,…
…Sound familiar? It should. The Bush/Brogan A+ Plan served as the right-wing’s blue-print for privatizing and characterizing public education across the country. In 2001, Brogan’s work earned him a place on Jeb Bush’s more famous, and newly elected, brother’s 31 member education advisory panel to “manage” the transition to the Bush era of education reform. Brogan accompanied two other ELC members, Pennsylvania’s Eugene Hickok and Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Lisa Graham Keegan, on President George Bush’s panel.”
It appears that the new PASSHE chancellor has drawn a line in the sand. According to Brogan, the gutting of music, the arts, the liberal sciences, science programs, education programs, student services and so on is only the beginning.