Avondale reduces staffing levels to help balance budget

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Avondale College's Bethel Hall. (Photo: Avondale College)

Avondale College of Higher Education (Cooranbong, NSW) is cutting expenses as a lower enrolment this year, following a near record graduation class size last year, has left a $A2 million-plus budget deficit.

This has meant a reduction in staffing levels with some positions remaining vacant after retirements and eight becoming redundant.

“The latter has been particularly painful,” wrote college president Professor Ray Roennfeldt in an email to staff.

“While it is positions, not people, that are made redundant, obviously the impact is on people. These are our colleagues, our friends, people who have contributed much to making Avondale what it is over a long period of time. So I wish with all my heart that this action was not necessary, but at the same time it is!”

The retirements and redundancies in the Disciplines of Arts, Education, Science and Theology and in Library and Student Life Services will bring next year’s budget $1.8 million closer to balance.

“We’re doing our best to ensure the retirements and redundancies have a minimal impact on the service we provide to students and on the quality of our learning and teaching,” said Prof Roennfeldt.

The Avondale College Council recognises “further cuts in expenditure are not viable”, wrote Prof Roennfeldt. “We will, though, need to look to increase student numbers, extend our course offerings through third-party arrangements and initiate new courses which will contribute to our sustainability.”

Avondale needs between 100 and 150 additional equivalent full-time student loads to balance the budget. It is examining the relationship between marketing services, Avondale admissions and the Academic Office to help “convert more prospects and applicants into actual enrolments”. It is also surveying students who enrolled, students who enrolled but withdrew before census and prospective students who did not enrol to learn more about their attitudes to Avondale. The structure and content of courses is also under review as faculty deans in particular seek to make courses more viable.

Prof Roennfeldt ended his email by thanking those who are supporting Avondale through prayer. “That means a lot!”

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