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Facing a $25 million budget gap, Virginia Commonwealth University is cutting 14 jobs in the Department of Focused Inquiry, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Departmental faculty had been bracing for the cuts since earlier this year.

The 14 affected faculty members will lose their jobs in 2024 or 2025, the newspaper reported, noting that the department has about 65 full-time contract employees. With recent enrollment declines and rising operational costs, officials have said the number of employees in the department is unsustainable. According to the VCU website, the Department of Focused Inquiry features “small, seminar-style classes for first and second-year students as part of the core curriculum at Virginia Commonwealth University” with an emphasis on “inquiry-based, community-engaged and experiential learning” led by interdisciplinary faculty members.

VCU could cut 100 to 150 jobs altogether, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The university is dealing with budget issues at the same time that leaders have been scrutinized for a $73 million payout by the VCU Health System to exit a Richmond development project, which has led to calls for President Michael Rao’s termination.

A VCU spokesperson told Inside Higher Ed by email that “fewer than 30 term faculty members from multiple academic units received non-renewable contracts, which means they won’t be renewed when the contract expires.”

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