The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

Simmons plans “restructuring” and department closures following financial crisis

President Wooten clarified that Simmons’ financial struggles come from a combination of investments being made in the One Simmons Project and unexpected costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez
Simmons Main College Building

On June 21, the Boston Globe published an article detailing the possibility that Simmons may cut multiple liberal arts departments in the face of a financial crisis. Two days later, the Globe published another article about student and professor concerns about the future of their education and jobs at Simmons. 

Following the articles, President Lynn Perry Wooten’s office issued an email with the subject line “Building Our Future” to the Simmons community. A webpage was created following the email as a place for the community to continue receiving updates. 

The Voice interviewed President Wooten to confirm the findings of the Boston Globe articles, and to identify the next steps for students, alumni, and the greater Simmons community. 

According to President Wooten, the Boston Globe “jumped the gun” on releasing the story, as Simmons had hoped to inform the community of prospective changes before they became mainstream news.  

“We wanted to spend the summer and early fall inviting our whole community to understand the situation we are in…and then get their feet wet,” said President Wooten. 

Despite the missed opportunity to inform the community about the prospective changes, President Wooten told the Voice that students should not be worried about their futures at Simmons.

“Everything that you know and love about Simmons… we have a financial model to support it,” said President Wooten. “We will always value the liberal arts, we will always have your language classes and other aspects of the liberal arts but we’re having to reimagine and restructure them.” 

President Wooten clarified that Simmons’ financial struggles come from a combination of investments being made in the One Simmons Project and unexpected costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Simmons needs to change who we are and restructure…and have a financially viable business model,” said President Wooten. 

Simmons’ restructuring will involve expanded online programming, fundraising, and new graduate programs, said President Wooten. Plans for the One Simmons Project will go on as scheduled. She also confirmed that some departments will be closed, but no final decisions have been made.  

In order to increase Simmons’ competitiveness in higher education, President Wooten plans to introduce a program called “the Simmons Edge,” which will have accelerated undergraduate programs paired with graduate programs both at Simmons and at partner schools. Notably, Simmons eliminated the 4+1 Master’s in Education accelerated program in fall 2020. 

Simmons will also be introducing two new graduate programs––Management and Strategic Communications. 

Incoming first-year student Josie Pappone had not heard from the university regarding the restructuring until the Voice contacted her for an interview. She chose Simmons for its strong liberal arts curriculum she had an interest in alongside her STEM-based degree, Nutrition and Health Sciences. 

“When you take into consideration the cost of attendance, to think classes like [liberal arts classes] are deteriorating while I’m there is very saddening,” said Pappone. 

“If I was still deciding on a school and this came out, I probably would have accepted an offer from a different school in the Boston area,” said Addison Hebert, an incoming first-year in the 3+1 Public Policy Program. “But, I chose Simmons for a reason, the volunteer and internship opportunities inside and outside the classroom.”

Hebert told the Voice she did not know who to go to with questions when she received the Globe article in an incoming students group chat. While she feels better knowing the opportunities that drew her to the school will still be offered, she said the changes “definitely sound nerve-wracking.”

Incoming Asian Studies major Phyre Yat Fei Kwong said it makes sense that liberal arts programs are the first to go, given the emphasis Simmons places on programs like nursing. They are also worried that cultural clubs and organizations will dwindle as the degree programs go away. 

“Since information like this impacts the whole community, Simmons should improve their communication when it comes to issues like this,” they said. 

However, rising junior Bella Santos told the Voice that she understands the business-oriented decisions the university had to make. Santos co-founded the Art and Music Liaison, is on the Simmons Sidelines magazine executive board, and works in the Trustman Art Gallery. 

“Simmons cannot advertise as a liberal arts college anymore,” said Santos. “I hope Simmons does what they can to help people whose majors are going away. There is value in every program.”

During the fall semester, President Wooten and her team plan to hold student and alumni town halls, conduct faculty senate meetings, and meet with department heads.

When asked what she wants students to know, President Wooten told the Voice that Simmons is “committed to remaining a women’s college” and that there will be “no impact on scholarships.” 

CORRECTION: September 5, 2023.

A previous version of this article listed one of the new master’s programs under an incorrect name.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Olivia Ray
Olivia Ray, Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Ray (2024, she/her) is a Journalism major with minors in Political Science, History, and Integrated Media and has been writing for the Voice since her freshman year. She is also a member of the Honors program and Simmons University Dance Company. She is passionate about cycling, good coffee, affordable housing, and all things student-driven media.
Abigail Meyers
Abigail Meyers, Social Media Editor
Abigail Meyers (2026, she/her) is a sophomore majoring in Journalism with minors in Political Science and Social Media. She has been writing for the Voice since fall of her freshman year and is elated to be joining the editorial team! When she's not in the newsroom, you can find her exploring the city, working out, obsessing over Taylor Swift, or baking something she saw on TikTok.
Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez
Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez, Visuals Editor
Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez (2023, they/she) is a Communications major (concentration in Media Arts) with a minor in Photography. Aside from working with the Voice, they run a portrait & event photography business serving clients in the Eastern MA area. Her favorite style of photography is portraiture.

Comments (1)

All The Simmons Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    JaneAug 31, 2023 at 7:19 am

    This was such an informative read! I graduated only 4 months ago and I didn’t know any of this was happening. While it makes me very sad to learn Simmons is struggling like this, this was fantastic reporting.