The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees will discuss and possibly take action on proposals to eliminate two undergraduate and three graduate low-enrollment academic programs during its meeting Wednesday-Friday.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Miller and President Laurie Nichols will recommend the elimination of the bachelor’s degree program in secondary education for industrial technical education, the bachelor’s degree program in Russian, the master’s degree program in French, the master’s degree program in German and the master’s degree program in neuroscience.
Faculty time will be spent differently if the programs are eliminated, but no one will be laid off, Miller said.
“No faculty are getting let go immediately because of these eliminations,” she said.
Miller did not have an estimate of how much the eliminations might save the school, but said the driving factor was to determine student interest and public need for the programs in question.
“This is really about program quality and whether students are interested in it,” she said. “It’s not about saving money.”
Alongside the elimination proposals are recommendations for ways in which the same material could be taught under a different program. For example, Miller’s report recommends exploring the creation of a master’s program in world languages to replace French and German and the creation of a Russian minor in lieu of a Russian major.
“It’s really about programs that were not thriving, that did not have many students,” Miller said. “When there isn’t student interest, that’s telling us something about the need for the program.”
Miller will also suggest placing admissions on hold for two secondary education programs — modern language and art education — and the dissolution of the Science and Math Teaching Center, to be replaced by a separate center within the year.
Additionally, Miller will recommend major modification and improvement of four programs: the bachelor’s degree program in American studies, master’s degree programs in sociology and philosophy and the Ph.D. program in statistics.
The recommendations come after a year-long process that began when the university identified 56 programs in need of review, based on low enrollment or the recommendations of deans. Academic departments conducted reviews of their programs and made recommendations to their respective deans, who in turn made recommendations to the Office of Academic Affairs.
Miller released a list of 15 programs for further review.
After a period of public comment, during which three of the 15 programs were withdrawn from consideration, Miller sent all recommendations and comments to Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and ASUW.
Faculty Senate returned recommendations to the Office of Academic Affairs, where Miller and Nichols worked together to generate the proposals soon being presented to the board.
“I made initial recommendations to (the president) and then we worked together on the final recommendations,” Miller said.
The board will discuss and take action on the elimination proposals Thursday afternoon.
According to a UW news release, the 13 students currently enrolled in programs marked for elimination would be allowed to finish their degrees.
According to Miller’s proposals, students who have declared majors in Russian will have to follow a strict schedule of Russian language courses to complete their degrees by spring 2019.