Roosevelt University will eliminate many of the programs at its Schaumburg campus, relocate numerous faculty and try to rent its facilities there as part of a wider effort to focus resources on the school's main Chicago campus, according to university President Chuck Middleton.
While vague about the time frame for the full transition, Middleton said the university is seeking institutional partners -- both educational and otherwise -- to lease the space at the Schaumburg campus not being used by Roosevelt's College of Pharmacy.
Roosevelt plans to keep the College of Pharmacy at its present size as its sole program in Schaumburg, Middleton said.
The university has no plans to sell the property, located just north of Golf Road and east of Meacham Road, or make physical changes significant enough to require approval from the village of Schaumburg, he added.
Nevertheless, village officials expressed questions and concerns Tuesday about changes they'd never anticipated.
"I'm shocked," Village Manager Brian Townsend said. "They haven't given us any indication this was coming."
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson wondered whether he should feel the same as former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder when Roosevelt moved its suburban campus from her village to his in 1996.
Though there are other institutions of higher learning in Schaumburg, Roosevelt's status as a full university made it distinct, Larson said.
"It was a university," Larson said. "You could go there as a freshman and a sophomore and earn a college degree."
A letter from Middleton, sent Monday to the university's board of trustees and other officials, states that "continuing enrollment challenges" at the Schaumburg campus played a part in his decision.
"While our College of Pharmacy has grown dramatically and successfully under the leadership of Dean (George) MacKinnon, revenues from other operations, primarily due to market conditions in the Northwest suburbs, have declined steadily despite our best efforts to address them," Middleton writes.
"This decline has become unsustainable. It has put greater emphasis on the success of the Chicago Campus while keeping us from fully investing resources that we already have in enhancing that success because we are overcommitted in Schaumburg. The result is that we are not performing optimally in either location," the letter reads.
Middleton said faculty and support personnel will relocate from Schaumburg to Chicago, as the university works to enhance its offerings at its primary campus.
"The consequence of this decision is that the Schaumburg Campus can no longer be sustained as a separately-governed entity with several colleges," he wrote in his letter to university officials.
His letter included a link to a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article about the growth in popularity of universities in urban centers.
"Urban higher education is hot right now," he said.
Larson said he's seeing a boom in business and business construction in Schaumburg. Middleton agreed that business -- a primary reason Roosevelt came to the suburbs in the first place -- is on the upswing.
But the nature of how local business and education interact is changing, he said. For example, at one time 1,500 Motorola employees were taking classes at Roosevelt, something that no longer occurs, Middleton said.
Middleton couldn't speak to how quickly negotiations with potential lease partners for the Schaumburg campus would begin.
Besides the pharmacy program, the Schaumburg campus hosts the Walter E. Heller College of Business, the College of Education, and the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies. Middleton's letter was sent the same day Roosevelt announced a new partnership with Harper College in Palatine to benefit pharmacy students at the Schaumburg campus.
Degree programs that have sufficient enrollment to justify continuation of full-degree offerings in Schaumburg will be organized in a multidisciplinary division, Middleton wrote. Other programs will no longer be offered other than on the Chicago campus.
Though his letter sets a Dec. 31 deadline for full implementation of the changes, Middleton said the exact timing likely would differ from program to program.
"I know that this will entail some difficult decisions, but it is imperative that we move rapidly now to successfully implement these changes," his letter states.