‘Not just how can we cut, but how can we invest’: Enrollment, climate discussed at Nov. Faculty Council meeting


Erin Henze

DePaul Provost Salma Ghanem walks with a group of faculty members during the introduction of the academic convocation on Sept. 1.

Across the U.S., colleges and universities are dealing with significant declines in enrollment.  As student bodies decrease in size, so do university budgets, prompting university officials to brainstorm solutions, like DePaul’s Faculty Council did on Wednesday. 

DePaul’s overall university enrollment decreased by 753 students in Fall 2022 from the previous year, according to an IRMA report. 

Soumitra Ghoush, vice president of enrollment management, discussed how the decrease in enrollment will affect the university’s budget at the Nov. 2 Faculty Council meeting. 

The joint council made faculty aware of this year’s enrollment in an email on Oct. 10, stating that this year’s diminishment will “create a budget gap in our current year that will need to be addressed, but is manageable.”

The joint council reiterated looking at other areas to fill the gap rather than at faculty salaries or potentially cutting positions. 

We will focus on being as protective as possible of salary adjustments, securing positions around the university, and maintaining the academic quality DePaul is known for delivering,” the statement said. 

Provost Salma Ghanem attended the meeting to address enrollment and budget concerns. 

“[President] Rob is looking at investment with budget restrictions, how we can invest,” Ghanem said. “That’s his story to tell. We’re re-envisioning strategically how we want to look at our budget long-term.”

DePaul is seeing the biggest gaps in graduate and transfer students, according to Ghoush. The university also saw another historic freshman class. 

“We are seeing good momentum on freshman four years in a row,” Ghoush said. 

Matt Ragas, professor of communication, expressed concern at the meeting and asked Ghoush if the university has enough staff and resources in the marketing department to fulfill the needs. 

Ghoush said that the most significant recruitment strategy is “organic conversion.” He discussed having prospective transfer and grad students come to university events. 

“We need to tell our unique story,” Ghoush said. 


Representatives from DePaul’s Institutional Research Market Analytics (IRMA) team attended the FC meeting to discuss the climate perceptions survey sent to faculty and staff. 

Joe Filkins, associate vice president and Liz Sanders, associate vice president for IRMA at DePaul went over the results, with data suggesting that faculty want to be more involved in decision making. The results also suggest that DePaul continues to struggle with its diversity initiatives, according to Sanders. 

The amount of responses to the survey also went down from 2019, with a 6% decrease in full time and 21% in part-time faculty. 

Perceptions of reward recognition and executive leadership were the lowest in the past 11 years, according to the results. 

Despite the low results, perceptions about chairs, academic climate and FC increased, according to results. 

Part-time faculty recorded that 39% of them are teaching at other institutions either in person or online. 

“[There’s] an increase in [part-time faculty] saying they don’t have adequate support for balancing work and life,” Filkins said. 

Ghanem addressed that the university is undergoing an environmental shift since Manuel came into office.

“What I’m seeing in the change of leadership is that there is a cultural shift in DePaul,” Ghanem said. 

The student perception survey results are underway.