Regents cut several SDSU programs

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Update: The five programs to be cut at SDSU are listed below.

At the last Board of Regents meeting, five undergraduate programs, 71 undergraduate specializations, and 26 graduate specializations were eliminated from SDSU’s curriculum to increase efficient use of university resources.

The five majors and degrees chosen in the cuts are: BS in Arts and Sciences in Microbiology, BS in Safety Management, Bachelors of Applied Technical Science, BS in Global Studies and BS in Arts and Sciences in Mathematics. Some of these degrees will only be offered as a Bachelor of Arts or will be combined with an existing degree.

“In an economy where our resources are at best flat and possibly declining, we need to make sure that we are efficient with the resources we have,” said Jack Warner, CEO and executive director for the Board of Regents. “If we are going to make cuts, then we want them to be strategic and well thought through.”

The university in conjunction with the BOR looked at which undergraduate programs had five or fewer graduates per year over the past four years. The number of specializations, or emphases, that each program offers was also taken into consideration.

“There were many specializations that had few, if any, students in them,” said Jerry Jorgensen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who helped with the productivity review. “Keeping these specializations ‘on the books’ and managing the records just created an unnecessary level of complexity for both our students and advisors.

“At the end of the process, we should have a cleaner curricula that students, parents and faculty can better understand and manage,” Jorgensen said.

Provost Laurie Nichols confirmed the statement.

“This is an effort to increase productivity in the different departments,” said Nichols. “It should benefit the departments and their ability to advise students and faculty will be teaching a variety of courses.”

One of the reasons behind the change was that there were a significant number of specializations, or emphases, that had few students in the program.

“In this process, we tried to be strategic in our approach,” said Jorgensen. “In some cases, we took specializations that were very small in numbers and reorganized them into one or two larger specializations or even stand-alone majors, making changes that we wanted anyway.”

Because some of the specializations and programs that used to be offered to students will no longer exist for incoming freshmen, some of the courses were eliminated as well.

“There are 82 courses eliminated that used to be offered,” said Nichols. “The Regents required us to do the productivity review (of programs and specializations) but we went ahead and said if we’re doing this for the programs then why not analyze the courses?”

The current programs have specific courses that a student in a specific specialization is required to take. Nichols said she believes this will allow for more flexibility for everyone.

“Students may not have quite as many choices but that is sometimes a consequence of a cut in resources,” said Warner. “We want to maintain a strong institution and reducing these programs is part of a larger and important process.”

What the university saves from reducing the number of programs or courses, it gains in other areas.

“Any saved resources realized through this review process are retained by the departments and reinvested back into that department,” said Jorgensen. “In most cases, saved resources from deleted courses will provide more opportunities for faculty to conduct research and scholarship.”

The new system will be implemented in the fall of 2010 and only incoming freshmen will follow it. The current students at SDSU will stay on the plan that they were set on when they started in their academic program.

“?Whenever a new program is added or an existing one deleted, the institution tries to ensure that students who are currently enrolled are minimally impacted and, with few exceptions, are allowed to continue under the plans of study started when they entered SDSU,” said Jorgensen.

Nichols said that although some programs are being eliminated, the institution will not be decreasing faculty numbers.

“I think in general, faculty seem to understand the reason for the review and worked very hard to make the changes that would be best interest long-termed for their programs to make them stronger,” said Jorgensen.