Sr. Mary attends Faculty Senate meeting, further review to be made on SRA decisions


Rachel Looker, Editor-in-Chief

Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed. D., met with members of Marywood’s Faculty Senate Friday afternoon to hold a discussion and answer questions about the release of the final Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) report

The SRA process started last fall to analyze the amount of financial resources Marywood allocates to certain programs.

This meeting follows a two-hour Faculty Senate meeting from last Friday where faculty members first discussed SRA recommendations with Interim Provost Denise Wilbur. 

Discussion points at the meeting with Sr. Mary included the change of Spanish, Philosophy and Religious Studies from majors to minor programs and the changes made with the reduction of a four-college structure to a three-college structure.

After the meeting, Sr. Mary said her first thoughts were “the faculty are terrific.”

She said the next step is determining what’s right and best for Marywood. Sr. Mary added that she understands when faculty members’ frustration “comes out in ways that are obvious and palpable,” because of their strong passion for students.

According to Sr. Mary, there was a big discussion on the change of major programs to minors and said this decision will go under further review.

“Those programs are going to go now to the curriculum committee,” said Sr. Mary, where she said there will be a case made to the committee for each program.

Sr. Mary said once the committee makes a decision, she will honor it.

When asked about the nine positions that were discontinued with the release of the SRA report, Sr. Mary said, “we eliminated those positions because we felt that there was overlap in what they were doing in other departments.”

She said these individuals received severance packages, were paid for the rest of the pay period and were paid for vacation time.

It is conceivable that three of these individuals could return to Marywood by applying to three new positions, which were first made available to these nine individuals, according to Sr. Mary. They would not see a salary decrease and would receive the same benefits if hired for a new position.

Sr. Mary believes two of these nine individuals were at retirement age and plan to retire.

Additionally, Sr. Mary said “it seems pretty cruel” that these individuals were let go with short notice, but said, “I wouldn’t want to be going there [to work] every day and facing friends and saying I got fired and have to go in three weeks.”

She added that she “wouldn’t want to have the mindset that I’m let go but still have to work for a month.”

Newly named Vice President of Business Affairs Tammy McHale, CPA, who began her position at Marywood on Dec.
1, said the meeting had good dialogue and open communication between the faculty and administration.

“I think Marywood is going to move forward in a positive direction,” said McHale. “There’s a great team being put in place on the academic side. We have no place to go but forward and up.”

Faculty Senate President and professor of Psychology and Counseling Dr. David Palmiter said there was flowing, ongoing dialogue throughout the meeting.

“Sr. [Mary] Persico is just a very skillful leader,” said Palmiter. “She’s a unifier.”

Palmiter added that he feels there was a high level of contentment among faculty members with what Sr. Mary said at the meeting.

Sr. Mary Ann Zimmer, N.D., Ph.D, chair of the religious studies department, said morale at the meeting was good.

“We need to put all the perspectives together from everybody to make it work for the university,” she said.
Sr. Mary Ann added that she thinks some programs were placed in the wrong college with the restructuring process, and said she hopes the college structure will be reviewed in the future.

Ann Cerminaro-Costanzi, Ph.D., chair of the foreign language department, said the meeting was a “more productive meeting than last week.”

John Ferraro and Alex Weidner contributed to this article.

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