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Sep 06, 2013 07:52 AM EDT

University Of Alberta to Suspend 20 Arts Programs

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In an attempt to offset budget shortfalls, the University of Alberta (U of A) has decided to remove 20 Arts programs that have lower enrollment. Over the last eight years, just 10 or fewer students were enrolled in each course, every fall. The decision to suspend the programs comes after the province reduced university funding by 7 percent in its March budget.

"I want us to be able to offer new programs that students might now be interested in and it's very hard to do that if we never close old programs," Dean Lesley Cormack of the Faculty of Arts said.

The U of A is now attempting to allocate funds on flagship disciplines.

"We've all just been sharpened by the budget cuts that were delivered in March, and we're trying to make sure that our house is in order," said Heather Zwicker, the U of A's vice-dean of arts.

New Democratic Party (NDP)'s Advanced Education critic, Rachel Notley is disappointed with the Alberta government.

"This government has broken their promise to invest in the quality of education that young people receive in this province," said Notley. "These cuts will have a major impact on whether our young people want to stay here to go to school, and whether our universities are able to offer the highest quality of instruction."

However, Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk feels that Cormack's decision to eliminate the programs is 'very courageous' and 'good management,' and other colleges should follow suit.

 "We need to be constantly checking in to see whether the programs we offer are current and useful to students," Cormack said.

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