The work-force that serves much of higher education in America has shrunk by at least 7 percent since Covid-19 arrived on American shores — a staggering, unprecedented contraction, according to federal data. And like the national economic downturn that is running parallel to this unprecedented viral outbreak, much also remains uncertain about what a “recovery” will actually look like for higher education.
An estimated 337,000 fewer workers were employed by America’s private (not-for-profit and for-profit) and state-controlled institutions of higher education in August compared to February, according to a release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculates industry-specific employee estimates each month. At no point since the bureau began keeping industry tallies in the late 1950s have colleges and universities ever shed so many employees at such an incredible rate.
James Slowiak is just one of those 337,000 workers. The former tenured theater professor at the University of