MU discussing cutting 27 graduate programs

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COLUMBIA - University of Missouri students in specific majors will see changes to their degree programs next fall. 

A task force, which began meeting on June 30, was made up of 17 professors, directors and deans in programs across the university. After dozens of meetings, the 39-page report went public Thursday.

MU’s Chancellor Alexander Cartwright explained the mission of the task force, “We asked the Task Force of faculty to look at all of our programs, a comprehensive review of our programs and to make recommendations in terms of which programs we might want to strengthen.”

He said they thought about “consolidation and what are the opportunities where we may have some programs that we might consider inactivating or rethink what types of degree programs there are.”

The report outlined 19 programs with extremely low or no enrollment the task force recommends cutting. Among those are programs in the College of Education, School of Medicine, College of Engineering, School of Law, College of Business, College of Agriculture Food Natural Resources, College of Human Environmental Sciences and School of Health Professions. 

Twelve emphasis areas were also recommended to be “deleted” in the College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences. 

Other current programs recommended for inactivation include the Agricultural Education PhD.; Rural Sociology MS, PhD.; Applied Mathematics MS; Art History and Archaeology MA, PhD.; Classical Studies MA, PhD.; Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences MHS; Chemical Engineering PhD.; Dispute Resolution LLM; Nuclear Engineering MS, PhD., Nuclear Safeguards Science and Technology Graduate Certificate; Personal Financial Planning Graduate Certificate, MS, PhD.; Religious Studies MA; Romantic Languages PhD.; School of Medicine PhD programs; three Graduate Certificate Programs.

Cartwright stressed the cuts are not effective now; instead this report was merely a list of recommendations from within the university.

Cartwright explained the report focused on the graduate programs because “the undergraduate programs are much more complex, there’s more overlap between programs and how you determine total enrollment and total credit hours is a little more complicated.”

He said, “We just need to think more about numbers of students who are in those programs.”

In the next steps this spring, Jim Spain, the vice provost for undergraduate studies for MU, will be discussing the recommendations with the university’s deans.

“We’re not done looking. We’re not finished evaluating and assessing, and we’re going to be leaning on the deans and the chairs now to say, 'Okay in this next step, how can we, let’s look at the efficiencies that we might be able to gain,” Spain said.

The earliest students will not see changes is next fall. Both Cartwright and Spain stressed that any student in a program affected by the changes will still be able to complete his or her degree program within a “reasonable” timeline. They did not specify whether that timeline will be up to the student.