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UW Provost Recommends Elimination of Five Low-Enrollment Programs

May 4, 2017

Following an extensive review of 12 low-enrollment academic programs at the University of Wyoming, UW Provost Kate Miller has recommended five for elimination.

The recommendations will be considered by UW President Laurie Nichols and the UW Board of Trustees, which has final say on program eliminations, during its regular meeting next week.

Students already in the programs and majors recommended for elimination -- in total, there are only 13 such students -- would be allowed to complete those degrees.

After initiating academic degree program reviews in March 2016, the UW Office of Academic Affairs conducted further review of six low-enrollment bachelor’s degrees, seven master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. Subsequently, two programs were withdrawn from the process upon agreement of deans and department heads to put performance improvement plans in place.

During the extensive comment and review period required by University Regulation 6-43, the Office of Academic Affairs consulted with UW’s Faculty Senate and others before the provost arrived at her recommendations. They may be viewed starting on page 94 of the Board of Trustees report.

“Regular reviews of academic programs are important to make sure a university’s offerings align with demand, the university’s mission and quality expectations,” Miller says. “My recommendations are intended to help assure that the university’s resources are deployed efficiently and effectively, while keeping student needs as our highest priority.”

In addition to recommending five programs for elimination, the provost calls for restructuring of one administrative unit, a one-year abeyance for two programs, and major modifications and improvements, with a three-year time horizon, for four programs.

Programs recommended for elimination 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.

Programs for which admissions would be put on hold for a year, to explore cost-effective options for teacher certification, are the bachelor’s degrees in secondary art education and modern language education.

Programs recommended for major modifications and improvements are:

-- 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 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.

Additionally, Miller recommends that UW’s Science and Math Teaching Center be dissolved as an administrative unit and that another university-wide center be created in its place, within a year, to support training of educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The provost’s recommendations follow two rounds of reviews of 56 programs: undergraduate majors with fewer than 50 graduates total from 2010-15; master’s programs with fewer than 25 graduates from 2010-15; and other programs requested for review by deans. Recommendations were based on additional factors including mission centrality and quality of the programs. Quality factors include external demand for graduates; internal demand for courses; quality of inputs, such as faculty credentials and facilities; and quality of outputs, such as attainment of student learning outcomes, placement of graduates; and grants, publications and scholarly and creative work of faculty.

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