Frequently Asked Questions

Why has this proposal been made?

Academic Renewal is a self-assessment and consultation process designed to strengthen the University’s growth as a global Catholic research university by improving academic excellence and financial sustainability.

Will departments move? (and why)

The Academic Renewal Proposal unites the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music and the Departments of Drama and Art, to form a new Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama and Art. 

Economics will move from the Busch School to the School of Arts and Sciences.

Will any programs close or be renamed?

No. The Academic Renewal process will not lead to any closures or changes in any current programs, majors, or courses, nor any increases in class sizes. Nor will any of our degree programs be renamed, including those that are moved to the new school of Music, Visual and Performing Arts. Degree programs such as the BA in Media and Communication Studies, the BA in Art History, and the BA in Drama will all continue to be offered and fully supported, with no changes to any degree name. 

Is it true that this involves large cuts to faculty?

No. Faculty changes are proposed only where the adjusted teaching levels – typically three classes per semester for undergraduate programs – means a smaller faculty is required. Most faculty changes will occur through an early retirement incentive being offered this year. 

What are the next steps?

This is an active consultation process that began in September. The formal review of the Proposal by the Academic Senate began on March 15 and will proceed through a University-wide consultation, leading up to a vote on the proposal at the May 9 Academic Senate meeting. The final proposal will then be taken to the Board of Trustees for a vote in early June.

How is enrollment at Catholic University doing?

With 3,315 undergraduates, Catholic University slightly exceeded our budgeted enrollment goal this year. Our freshman class– 831 students – is comparable to the average of the past five years (825) and 15 years (832), though year-to-year enrollment has fluctuated.

Catholic University is in a competitive market. Published data indicates the number of high school graduates in the northeastern United States and the number of private high school graduates nationwide are declining. Academic Renewal focuses on strengthening academics in a financially sustainable manner to maintain competitiveness.

University enrollment is a specific number. Can revenue between universities be compared?

Not easily. University revenue comes from a variety of sources, and access to these sources varies by institution, which in turn impacts revenue potential. For example, Catholic University has doubled outside contributions in recent years (from $16.7 million in 2010 to $33.5 million in 2016) to support academics and student life. Other universities have affiliated teaching hospitals, Division 1 athletic programs or unique revenue sources, such as a radio station.

In addition, published data can be difficult to compare. For example, the federal 990 report, filed annually by non-profits, lists tuition revenue, but that is gross revenue, not tuition net of discounting, which varies by school. The 990 also is based on a calendar year, not a fiscal year so the data does not align with university budgets or enrollment cycles.