Low-enrollment programs to be eliminated

April 26 2007

Following an extensive study of its curriculum, Indiana State University plans to reduce its academic offerings from 214 to between 150 and 160 by eliminating, revising and merging low-demand programs, C. Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced today (April 26).

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools had recommended the university reduce its academic offerings in its 1980, 1990 and 2000 reviews of the institution. More recently, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education had also encouraged the university to eliminate low-enrollment programs.

“As higher education continues to evolve in Indiana, it is more critical than ever that we utilize our limited resources in the most productive fashion. By taking these actions, we will be able to redirect resources to strengthen other programs,” Maynard said.

In a related initiative, ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III announced creation of the President’s Fund for Academic Excellence which will provide $1.75 million over the next three years to support programs that have been selected for additional investments as part of the Distinctive Programs Initiative. (See related story.) Sources for the funding include $1 million provided by a grant from the Lilly Endowment and another $750,000 in one-time university funds. As additional resources are identified through the elimination of programs, they will be added to the fund.

To determine what programs should be eliminated or revised, a program prioritization task force was appointed in fall 2005 to conduct a review of all 214 programs. The task force was led by Michael Murphy, professor of psychology, and Karen Schmid, associate vice president for academic affairs. The criteria used in reviewing the programs included:

  • Consistency with university mission, vision, values and goals as well as statewide goals for higher education
  • External and internal demand
  • Quality
  • Productivity, costs and efficiency
  • Potential
  • Crucial information not addressed by other criteria

The task force found that 90 percent of ISU’s students were enrolled in 50 percent of the programs offered. More than 400 undergraduate course sections had fewer than 10 students enrolled, and each semester there were approximately 5,000 empty seats in general education courses, the study indicated.

Current students will not be negatively impacted by the elimination of programs. All students will be permitted to complete their program or transfer to a related program, Maynard said.

“These changes will actually give many of our students more flexibility by developing a core curriculum for similar concentrations. For example, in communications, several concentrations will utilize the same core courses. This will enable a journalism student who wants to switch to a public relations concentration to stay on track toward completing his or her degree,” Maynard said.

In addition, no tenure/tenure-track faculty will be displaced as a result of the program recommendations, he said.

Recommended changes include:

  • College of Arts and Sciences: Elimination of 10 programs, consolidation or merger of approximately 36 program tracks to 14 programs with another four programs under review and subject to future program modifications.
  • College of Business: Review of Master of Business Administration program in terms of curriculum and delivery with recommendations due by January 2008, one other program under review for possible merger. Information technology program offered jointly by the colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences and Technology must be reviewed with recommendations due by December 2007.
  • College of Education: Elimination of one program, consolidation of one graduate program with 11 tracks to one, a second graduate program with three tracks to one, and a third graduate program with three tracks to two, revision of early childhood program by eliminating major and adding to elementary education degree.
  • College of Health and Human Performance: Elimination of two programs, merger of four programs into two programs and one program under review for three years.
  • College of Nursing: Elimination of two graduate tracks, establishment of enrollment limits at all levels that address resources and quality.
  • College of Technology: Elimination of two associate degrees, assessment of Ph.D. in technology management with recommendations for revisions due January 2008, revision or merger of another seven programs as college restructures from five to three departments.

As part of the program prioritization process, a revision of the general education program also was recommended. A joint task force of the Faculty Senate and the Provost will be appointed and charged to develop recommendations by next spring.

Graduate teacher education programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Technology, Nursing and Health and Human Services also will be reviewed. Each program will be assessed to ensure they are meeting the needs of educators, that the method of delivering the coursework is attentive to professionals and that the resources of the university are maximized in delivering these programs, Maynard said.

“This has not been an easy task, and I commend Provost Maynard, the entire task force, our deans and our faculty for spending hundreds of hours in this review process,” Benjamin said. “I am impressed with the creative approaches many of our departments have taken in these curriculum revisions. The results of this exceedingly important work will shape the direction and success of our institution in the future.”

Contact: C. Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Indiana State University, 812-237-2309 or jack-maynad@indstate.edu

Writer: Teresa Exline, university spokesperson, Indiana State University, 812-237-7783 or texline.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Following an exhaustive study of its curriculum, Indiana State University plans to reduce its academic offerings from 214 to between 150 and 160 by elimianting, revising and merging low-demand programs. In a related initiative, a new President's Fund for Academic Excellence will provide $1.75 million over three years to support programs selected for additional investments as part of a Distinctive Programs Initiative

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