Saint Leo University President Ed Dadez, Ph.D., announced several operational changes for the 134-year-old nonprofit, Catholic institution on Thursday, February 16. The changes are part of his plans to create a reimagined vision for the university — one that will make a Benedictine Catholic, value-based education more accessible to people everywhere.

“Throughout its history, Saint Leo University has continually evolved to meet the needs of students—from opening education centers on military bases to being one of the first to offer online degree programs,” Dadez said. “The future vision for our university will continue on this course, including more educational partnerships with businesses and organizations, customized pathways for earning degrees, and new investments in our online learning program. We will continue innovating our offerings to support the new learning needs of students and today’s workforce.”

A thorough audit of the university’s enrollment trends revealed an opportunity to improve efficiencies and enhance its future offerings for students. Following the audit, the university made the decision to close eight of its 14 education centers located in five states, discontinue six of its 23 NCAA Division II sports teams, and sunset three degree programs, as well as some course offerings. A total of 111 faculty and staff positions were eliminated, of which 27% were recently vacant.

  • Over the next six months, the university will discontinue operations at the following education centers: Charleston, SC; Joint Base Charleston-Naval Weapons Station, SC; Columbus, MS; Corpus Christi, TX; and Jacksonville, Lake City, Ocala, and Mayport, FL. Students currently taking classes at these centers will transition to the university’s online program to continue their coursework.
  • Six intercollegiate athletic programs will be discontinued at the conclusion of their seasons. Since there are currently four teams on the road competing, and another five traveling this weekend, discussions will occur with the affected programs and the athletic community once all teams return to campus. We will communicate the programs once we have informed and supported the student-athletes impacted.
  • The university will discontinue the following academic degree programs: Bachelor of Arts in international hospitality, Bachelor of Arts in human services, and the Master of Science in human services. Students currently enrolled in these programs will be assisted with a plan to achieve degree completion. As part of this change, all degree programs in the College of Education and Social Services will become a part of other colleges, effective at the end of the academic year.

“Reducing our university’s footprint and programs will allow us to focus more strategically on areas and opportunities with high-demand,” said Stacy Gato, vice president for Strategic Enrollment Management. “We are always looking for ways to innovate and enhance the services we provide to students.”

Part of the university’s future focus will include growing the university’s bachelor’s degree program in nursing and many of the programs in its newly established School of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Data Science. There is high demand for professionals in these sectors, and high interest from prospective students.

Another area of focus will include working with businesses and organizations to support their professional development needs and establish new talent pipelines for skilled employees in high-demand fields.

“The university already maintains strong partnerships with many school districts, law enforcement agencies, faith-based groups, and other organizations,” said Dr. Mark Gesner, vice president of Community Engagement & Communications. “We look forward to growing our community partnerships and being a full-service education and training partner for many more businesses, nonprofits, and groups of all sizes.”