College for Creative Studies plans layoffs, other cost cuts

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The College for Creative Studies, a nonprofit private arts college in Detroit, announced Tuesday it will be laying off 5% of its workforce as part of cost-saving measures amid COVID-19.

The layoffs will cover 20 positions and include faculty and staff members, college officials say.

Other cost-saving measures include an immediate salary and hiring freeze in addition to external contract eliminations where possible and a halting of all nonessential capital projects.

Cyclists arrive at the Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden on the campus of the College for Creative Studies.

Meanwhile, college officials said new capital investments will be focused on student education through improved and expanded technology and greater access to practical work experiences. Additionally, changes include a more streamlined administrative structure.

“As we developed this restructuring plan, our decision-making was mission-driven and laser-focused on delivering the best student experience,” said Don Tuski, CCS president. “While we were faced with making these difficult decisions, making these changes now will allow us to adapt to the new circumstances facing higher education and deliver an exceptional and safe experience this fall.” 

CCS is grappling with increased costs because the global pandemic interrupted winter semester and contributed to summer revenue loss. 

Financial losses are also projected in upcoming months because of a contraction in the endowment, decreased fall enrollment and reduced activities to make the campus safe.

Other parts of the restructuring includes the reassignment of key positions.

CCS also intends to bring new emphasis to structuring the college’s community and corporate partnerships to support applied learning opportunities for every student, with a goal of preparing students for employment or engagement with an individual studio practice. 

“CCS’s mission is more important than ever as we seek creative, innovative solutions to the challenges before us," said Jim Nicholson, chairman of the Board of Trustees.  "This restructuring will allow the faculty and staff to be more flexible and responsive in a time of uncertainty.  Our plan is mission-driven and student focused. These changes will ensure CCS’s resiliency and success into the future.”

CCI  enrolls more than 1,400 students and employs 492 faculty and administrative staff with an annual budget of $55 million. It educates students in 11 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees and one teacher certification program.

The school joins a growing number of colleges and universities that are tightening spending to cope with enormous financial blows linked to the pandemic, which essentially shut down public life in mid-March.