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Columbia College President resigns over budget issues and strike


Kwang-Wu Kim, president and CEO of Columbia College Chicago, will step down from his position, just days after announcing to the Faculty Senate that he would soon begin a process to evaluate the college’s finances that will determine whether full-time faculty can have tenure. will be dismissed. This news also comes on the heels of a fall semester that was significantly impacted. Historic seven-week strike by part-time faculty members

The college announced Kim’s departure in an email to students on Wednesday, saying Kim, who has served as President since 2013, had notified the Board of Trustees of his decision to resign. The email did not give a reason for his resignation.

“President Kim has been a steady and exemplary leader of Columbia for more than a decade. “The Board of Trustees is incredibly grateful for his service to our institution.”

Jacqueline Partridge, Columbia College’s senior director of external communications, said in an email that efforts are being made to reposition the college as a more sought-after destination for students and families.

“The board of trustees intends for administrators, faculty and staff to collaborate on plans to find efficiencies by rethinking organizational structures and enhancing the university’s value proposition by allowing students to dive more deeply into their chosen fields and more broadly explore other creative disciplines,” Partridge said.

The Columbia College Board of Trustees also voted to increase tuition in Fall 2024.

The college was already experiencing significant financial difficulties when it faced the Columbia College Faculty Association’s 49-day strike, believed to be the longest strike in the history of higher education. In the statement made by the university, it was stated that the strike cost the institution 13 million dollars.

The strike kept about 600 part-time faculty members out of their classrooms for nearly two months, while department chairs and some full-time faculty members took over those classes. While some classes remained without instructors until the semester ended on Saturday, others switched to an asynchronous model.

Before the strike, department chairs at Columbia were told to eliminate five to six courses for each of the 58 academic programs a few weeks before the start of the fall semester.

After dozens of rounds of negotiations, a contract between Columbia and the union was approved on December 21.

On February 8, the Board asked President Kim and his leadership team to develop a plan to better align program offerings and streamline degree requirements so that students can commit to advancing their chosen creative fields. According to the announcement, Kim will share a draft report with recommendations with the campus on February 28.

Kim’s term ends on July 1. Jerry Tarrer, senior vice president of business affairs, will begin serving as interim president the next day while the search for a new president continues.


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