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I learned that while some are considering work outside of academia, few have knowledge of how to pursue such opportunities. Even those in the math and sciences—industries generally highlighted as ones poised for immense job growth these days—aren’t sure that their skills will translate to another sector. The school, they say, hasn’t offered them career counseling or transition services… [Assistant professor of math, Camillia Smith Barnes], who was a year away from getting tenure, worries about her current resume; until last week, she felt secure. Like many of the faculty whom I spoke with, Barnes said that she was struggling with shock and debilitating stress. “I started the job search on Tuesday night,” she said. “But on Wednesday, I was too depressed to do anything.” Students and faculty didn’t attend classes last week after hearing the news because they were too emotional to focus on their work, some explained.

From an outsider’s perspective, it’s hard to imagine how any school with such extensive grounds, impressive buildings, and a full staff that educated only a few hundred women could remain financially viable. The restrictions outlined in Sweet Briar’s former missions, wills, and trusts made change all but impossible. Still, as inevitable as it may be, it’s worth acknowledging that the school’s closure has taken an enormous toll on people who’ve devoted their lives to liberal-arts education. And many fear that Sweet Briar serves as a case study for what will play out at similar schools in the coming years.

— On March 3, the president of Sweet Briar College, a historic all-women’s liberal arts school, announced its impending closure. Students and faculty will finish the spring semester, but the school itself may be preserved, parceled out, re-purposed or demolished after that. For Sweet Briar professors, this heralds a time of deep uncertainty in an adjunct-heavy job market, and for some academics, homelessness. Lauren McKenna tells these professors’ stories at The Atlantic.

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