Academic and Graduate Reprioritization Update

Posted November 18, 2022 by Wheaton College Parent Engagement
Tags: Parent Announcements

Dear Parents, 

The email below was sent to all students earlier today and we wanted to make sure you were aware.

Dear Students,

We write to tell you about recent steps we have taken to maintain Wheaton’s strong financial position and to carry our mission into the future as we continue to attract gifted, grounded students who choose to pursue both academic excellence and Christian discipleship.

The College has projected an annual deficit growing to 10% of our operating budget by 2028—due in part to national lower enrollment trends affecting higher education across the country, including at Christian institutions.

Rather than allowing this budget gap to develop—or placing the cost burden on students and their families—we are making difficult but prudent decisions now to reshape our services, operations, and specific academic programs.

Today, we announced the following measures to optimize Academic Division operations beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. We expect to announce additional, non-academic changes following our February board meetings. Under the oversight of the Board of Trustees, the administration based these decisions on recommendations from faculty and staff committees:

  • During Academic Year 2023-24, we will begin to modify the following academic programs from majors to minors, certificates, or concentrations: Chinese, German, and Classical Languages. Regrettably, each of these excellent majors enrolls less than 1% of our undergraduate student body.


  • All students currently enrolled in one of these majors will be able to take the courses they need to complete their academic programs by their senior year. We will also continue to foster interest in language and cultural studies by sustaining a range of co-curricular offerings, including study abroad programs, cultural affinity groups, and global internships.


  • In addition to not renewing certain academic staff positions and visiting faculty lines for next school year, sadly this week we have informed 10 of our 213 tenured and tenure-track faculty and permanent lecturers that their positions will end in June of 2024 or June of 2025.

Please know that we will provide appropriate transition assistance for all employees affected by these difficult decisions. We encourage students and their families to express appreciation for our faculty members and staff and to keep them in prayer.

All other academic programs will continue as planned, including Passage Orientation, Christ at the Core, Life with God Together, and the expansion of Aequitas. Our students will also continue to benefit from our sizable endowment and the more than $10 million in scholarship aid we have received through recent fundraising efforts.

These budget adjustments will allow us to continue our Strategic Investment Fund, enabling us to launch dynamic new academic programs. We are especially pleased to announce a new 4-year engineering degree beginning next fall. Our institutional strategic plan also includes increases to staff and faculty salaries, sustaining their work as teachers and mentors.

Thank you for your prayers for the kingdom work of Wheaton College, and for your personal support of faculty and staff during this time of transition for the Academic Division.

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken