In my experience, most college professors pay little attention to what’s happening in higher education beyond their own discipline or institution. So last week it was remarkable how many colleagues came up and asked me, “What happened at UW-Stevens Point?”
They were referring to one of the 26 campuses in the University of Wisconsin system, which announced last Monday that it was planning to address a $4.5 budget deficit by a combination of two strategies: “adding or expanding 16 programs in areas with high-demand career paths as a way to maintain and increase enrollment” and “shifting resources from programs where fewer students are enrolled,” to the point of cutting several majors.
What will grow? Business programs like marketing, management, and finance, and STEM programs like chemical engineering, computer information systems, and aquaculture/aquaponics.
What will go away? Virtually every art, humanity, and social science major that isn’t directly connected to a professional “pathway.” Not just the languages (French, German, and Spanish at UWSP) and fine arts (art and music literature) programs that have been the first to go when smaller schools make such cuts. Stevens Point students would no longer be able to major in English, philosophy, political science, sociology, or history….