UB to Suspend About 55 Degree Programs


The University of Akron (UA) are planning to shelve around 55 degree programs, including theater arts, in an attempt to allocate financial resources towards courses deemed high-priority.

Provost Mike Sherman said that 11 associate, 13 bachelors, 27 masters and four doctoral degree programs are no longer the favourites or appropriate to UA's core mission. Sherman said these academic programs were selected because of its lack of demand, faculty, graduation and completion rates, scholarships, accreditation and research among others.

"These are hard times, and everything cannot be sustained," said Chand Midha, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Akron Beacon Journal Onlinereports. Midha said that if the proposed suspensions are implemented, the College of Arts and Sciences - the largest institution at UA - will have around 65 to 70 less number of courses.

Students who have already enrolled in courses such as geography and music, history and literature, theater arts and physics and urban studies among others, would be allowed to complete them. If the programs are indeed scrapped off, the university officials would notify another 115 students, who have shown interest in these courses, before May1. The final decision on the programs will be taken April 23 once the Faculty Senate reviews the proposal over the next few weeks.

Sherman said that some faculty members have already decided to close some of the listed programs, such as doctoral programs in elementary and secondary education, well before trustees announce their verdict.

Midha said that the university-wide academic program review was conducted 1993. The departments reviewed their programs between 2005 and 2010, but the reviews did not proceed further due to the change in the provost. In June 2010, when Sherman was appointed as UA Provost, he analysed proposals from the past five years and announced the result.

Students and alumni are unhappy with some of the programs being shut down including theater arts.

Jennifer "Zhenya" Lavy of Seattle, who earned bachelors and master's degrees in English at UA, said that theatre arts program "offers a truly unique (I rarely use that word) training and learning experience unlike any other."

Lavy hopes that her organization, Caucus for Theatre Alumni and Friends, will be able to convince the trustees to sustain the program for two more years.

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