U of A Proposal to Suspend More Than 50 Programs

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AKRON--Administrators of the University of Akron on Thursday presented faculty representatives a proposal to suspend more than 50 of the university's programs following a review process that involved demand for the programs, completion rates, placement rates and other criteria.

The proposal would eliminate 11 associate programs, 13 bachelor level programs, 27 masters level programs and four doctorate level programs.

"Part of the assessment of programs has to do with their vibrancy, their vitality, their relevance to the real world and how they are connected to actual jobs," said University of Akron Senior Vice President & Provost, Dr. Mike Sherman.

The Academic Program Review process is part of an evolution that has already seen changes at the university.

"The faculty do that all the time," explained Sherman, adding, "For example, they have already formed a department of geosciencs, putting geography and geology together. Another example is many of our dance graduates find themselves running a dance school, running a business, so dance has collaborated with the College of Business Administration so the dance students are taking classes in business, learning how to run a business."

Although the proposed list includes 55 programs, Sherman explained the actual impact would not be as dramatic.

"While it's 55 degrees, specializations, concentrations and tracts, it's actually 27 degrees where faculty and the college of education have already voted to suspend admission of students into some of those 27 so it's actually a smaller number of actual degree programs that will be considered by faculty senate," said Sherman.

The University has a strategic plan that includes having 80% job placement of its students six months after graduation.

The proposal would affect some 600 existing students and 115 applicants, less than 2% of the current enrollment.

Every one of the students currently enrolled will be given an opportunity to complete their education.

Applicants may be offered other options.

"I think we have had about 100 or so applications to those programs. We have admitted about 30 students. So, again, not a lot of demand for the programs under consideration. Certainly important to those students who applied to those programs, so we will be reaching out to them letting them know that the program they have applied to is under consideration for suspension. We will be working with them to say 'hey, you might want to consider this (other) program because it might create a different opportunity. Have you thought about that?'" said Sherman.

While the proposals were to be presented to the Faculty Senate on Thursday, the full board is not expected to vote on their recommendations until late April.

Any of the proposals that are adopted would be gradually phased in.