Citing lower income from federal grants, Johns Hopkins University quietly laid off 41 administrative staff late last week, according to an item on The Hub, a Hopkins news website. Another 13 staff members were told that their jobs would be reorganized, and the university announced that it would not fill 51 open positions.
"Growth has slowed in the university's largest source of revenue—federal research funding—while other costs, such as compliance with federal regulations, have increased," Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert C. Lieberman, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Daniel G. Ennis, and Vice President for Human Resources Charlene Moore Hayes said in an email message sent today to employees within University Administration, which is quoted in The Hub. "Yet even in this constrained environment, Johns Hopkins strives for excellence and must plan strategically for the future."
City Paper learned of the layoffs from a former Hopkins employee who learned it from friends still at the institution. "This past Wednesday, a round of emails went out firing 10% of the employees of JHU University Administration, who manage everything from IT support to the security of university buildings and dormitories," the former employee, who declined to go on the record, wrote in an email. That 10-percent figure seemed to be a reference to a directive that managers prepare to cut their budgets by 10 percent. The positions being eliminated or restructured represent just 4 percent of the University Administration head count, which is about 1,300 employees. The university employs more than 20,000 people in all.
"The University Administration budget initiative is the latest in a series of cost-control efforts that have included changes to employee health care benefits announced in 2013 and new procurement strategies introduced over the past year," The Hub item says. "The university has also taken actions to grow revenues in areas such as online education and technology development."
The school’s lean times should be understood in context. Hopkins' endowment holds about $3.4 billion, ranking 26th among U.S. universities, just ahead of Penn State and about one-10th of Harvard's endowment.