MU to Discuss Program Restructuring

8 years 2 weeks 16 hours ago Tuesday, October 05 2010 Oct 5, 2010 Tuesday, October 05, 2010 7:06:37 PM CDT October 05, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA--The make-up of the University of Missouri's curriculum is up for discussion.

At Governor Jay Nixon's behest, a list of more than 70 degree programs at MU--known for their low graduation rates--are up for review by University faculty and administration.

MU Provost Brian Foster says all the upcoming talks will result not in massive cuts, but in a restructuring of courses and departments the University offers.

Foster is adamant that simply looking at graduation rates to make these tough decisions is not enough.

"This is just the beginning of a complicated discussion, the number of degrees produced by a unit is one input into that discussion and a very important one.  But it's only one," Foster said.

Foster says the number of students in each graduate study does not represent the strength of each program.

And that's good news for Plant Sciences Professor Bill Wiebold. 

Wiebold, a 20 year member of the MU faculty, has only three total grad students graduating this school year.

He says any discussions about restructuring must take into account more than just the number of students in a given program.

"I think the worst possible outcome [from these talks] is that people don't listen to the justification that they just simply look at a single and if it's too low, that program gets axed," Wiebold said.

In fact, Wiebold and his colleagues in the Plant Sciences Department did their own restructuring.  At this time, Wiebold taught agronomy--the study of using plants for fuel or food.

"In our particular case agronomy is one of four particular colleges in the division of Plant Sciences.  Several years ago we decided to combine those programs into a single one," Wiebold said.

Wiebold said the decision was a result of a string of meetings and in-depth discussions.

He says he hopes MU takes the restructuring process that seriously.

A first report from MU is due to Governor Nixon on Oct. 28.

The faculty and administration will meet for the first time to discuss restructuring on Wednesday afternoon.
 

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