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UW Moves to Consolidate Departments, Eliminate Low-Enrollment Programs

May 11, 2017

In an effort to reduce administrative costs and achieve other efficiencies, the University of Wyoming plans to consolidate several academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education.

The plans developed by the colleges were presented to the UW Board of Trustees today (Thursday), following President Laurie Nichols’ direction to streamline the university’s academic and administrative organizational structures -- one of the suggestions she heard often during meetings on campus early in her presidency. No degree programs would be eliminated as a result of this action.

“These changes would allow these colleges to operate more efficiently and effectively,” UW Provost Kate Miller says. “The consolidations make a great deal of sense, and we look forward to the synergies that would develop.”

In the College of Arts and Sciences, 16 of its departments would be consolidated to seven. Here is the planned configuration:

-- Department of History and American Studies.

-- Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology.

-- Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

-- Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

-- Department of Visual and Literary Arts, composed of the Department of Art and Art History, and the Creative Writing Program.

-- The School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies, combining Global and Area Studies and the Department of Political Science.

-- The School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice, composed of the programs in African American and Diaspora Studies, Latina/o Studies, American Indian Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies.

In the College of Education, four departments would be combined into two schools:

-- The School of Teacher Education, combining secondary, elementary and early childhood teacher preparation programs.

-- The School of Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy and Design, combining school leadership, research and data analysis, counseling, instructional design, special education and higher education administration.

Precise numbers regarding overall savings from these consolidations are not yet available, but they would be significant. For example, the College of Arts and Sciences expects to save $85,000 annually because of the reduction in department heads and directors, who are paid a stipend. Additionally, the college will save $200,000 in annual salaries through creation of shared staff centers.

“Although this was a difficult process, the results are encouraging,” Arts and Sciences Dean Paula Lutz says. “We look forward to watching these new units grow and prosper.”

The College of Education expects to save $27,000 annually in staff support costs, while gaining up to $60,000 annually in teaching capacity.

“The combination of all initial and advanced programs in teacher preparation into a single unit will encourage a more comprehensive and seamless program of P-12 teacher education,” Dean Ray Reutzel says.

Additionally, the College of Arts and Sciences would merge its Division of Research Support with the unit for senior design projects and research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. The merged unit would reside in College of Engineering and Applied Science facilities. Savings of more than $300,000 annually are expected.

“The new shops unit will provide a ‘one-stop shop’ with a broader array of services,” Lutz and Engineering Dean Michael Pishko say. “We look forward to the synergies and collaborations that will result.”

Separately, the Board of Trustees approved elimination of five low-enrollment academic programs as recommended by Miller, following an extensive review process.

Students already in these programs and majors -- in total, there are only 13 such students -- will be allowed to complete their degrees.

Programs that will be eliminated are:

-- Bachelor of Science in secondary education for industrial technical education.

-- Bachelor of Arts in Russian.

-- Master of Arts in French and German.

-- Master of Science in neuroscience.

In addition, the programs for bachelor’s degrees in secondary art education and modern language education will be put on hold for a year, to explore cost-effective options for teacher certification.

And major modifications and improvements -- including growth in student enrollment, with specific targets and timelines -- will be made to:

-- Bachelor of Arts in American studies. A consideration in that process will be the merger of the American Studies Program with the Department of History.

-- Master of Arts in sociology. A consideration in that process will be the merger of the Department of Sociology and the Department of Criminal Justice.

-- Master of Arts in philosophy. A consideration in that process will be the merger of the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Religious Studies.

-- Ph.D. in statistics. A consideration in that process will be the merger of the Department of Statistics and the Department of Mathematics.

Also as a result of trustee action, UW’s Science and Math Teaching Center will be dissolved as an administrative unit, and another university-wide center will be created in its place to support training of educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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