Recent QU budget cuts target more than meets the eye

By Brent Costantino

Public speaking adjunct professor, Terri Corigliano, has been employed by Quinnipiac University for the last decade, and built strong relationships with her students throughout her 30-year career.

But Quinnipiac’s School of Communications let her go from her teaching position for next semester due to the university’s most recent budget cuts. The budget cuts are a result of lower freshmen enrollment, according to the chair of the media studies department, Nancy Worthington.

Professor Terri Corigliano teaches her public speaking course with a wide smile across her face.

Professor Terri Corigliano teaches her public speaking course with a wide smile across her face.

“I literally had a stomach ache talking to them.  These people have been with us for years, and I feel really bad about it,” Worthington said.

Adjunct professors are considered part-time employees on college campuses across the country. Even though they can be responsible for teaching multiple classes per semester, adjuncts are not offered benefits. 

Quinnipiac’s low enrollment numbers for the fall semester have caused administrators to cancel certain sections of freshman courses such as public speaking, leaving veteran adjunct professors such as Corigliano out of a job.  A total of 1,895 incoming freshmen were enrolled at Quinnipiac heading into the fall of 2018. Meanwhile, fall 2019 enrollment for freshmen was just above 1,700, according to Quinnipiac admissions. 

This makes budget money tight, and leads to certain freshman courses not filling up, and ultimately dropped by the university to save cost.        

“I did not see this coming,” said Corigliano.

Neither did professor Kristina Medina, who currently teaches three classes in the communications department as an adjunct. 

“I love it here at Quinnipiac, and I’m sad just knowing that I’m not going to be here next semester,” said Medina.

Faculty and staff say that students and the university need adjunct professors.  These employees go above and beyond to prove themselves to their students and colleagues, according to Worthington.

“My fear is that during the time they’re off next semester they will find something else to do.  They are essential to how we do things here,” said Worthington. 

Medina discussed a scenario where she had to prepare an entire semester’s lesson plan for a course which she was assigned to on a Friday before the first Monday of classes last fall semester.

Medina, a former Quinnipiac student is not going to give up on her alma mater.

“The long-term goal is to stay at QU because I love it here. We’ll see if that can work out,” said Medina. 

Professor Medina assisting a student with a question for a project.

Professor Medina assisting a student with a question for a project.

The recent budget cuts have also impacted student employee work hours.

“The budget cuts have forced us to look at student shift hours. I have to make cuts where I can without affecting my staff,” said Joseph Podsiadlo, associate director of information services at Quinnipiac.

Other than adjusting the hours of a few staffers, Podsiadlo remained optimistic that the general student population won’t be affected by the budget cuts. 

“None of us want the existing students to feel like they are not getting the support that they should have,” said Podsiadlo. 

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