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Originally published: 2014-02-26 15:11:10
Last modified: 2014-02-26 15:11:55

ASU committee would save some programs on chopping block

by Anna Oakes

The Appalachian State University Academic Policies and Procedures Committee did not accept all of the program elimination proposals in a December 2013 report developed by the university's deans, provost and chancellor.

Instead, the committee voted Feb. 19 against the proposed cuts of three programs, including the master's degree in child development: birth through kindergarten, master's in romance languages and master's in criminal justice and criminology.

The committee voted to place the master's level romance languages program on a two-year moratorium.

The committee voted to consolidate three undergraduate programs slated for elimination -- business education, family and consumer sciences/secondary education and technology education. And the committee voted to accept proposals to cut the master's in music education, master's in history education and the master's of gerontology.

ASU Provost Lori Gonzalez emailed faculty and staff Feb. 21, stating she would soon meet with Chancellor Ken Peacock to review the recommendations and that their decisions would be communicated to the campus following that meeting.

The program prioritization process began in December 2011, culminating in a deans' retreat with Gonzalez Oct. 21 and submission of a draft report to the chancellor Nov. 25. Gonzalez and Peacock announced decisions to cut nine programs and consolidate nine others.

If the report's recommendations were fully implemented, the program inventory at ASU would decrease by 26 programs, which includes some programs tapped for consolidation or elimination last academic year, as well.

But many faculty members last fall criticized the prioritization process, arguing that administrators were circumventing established academic governance procedures.

In October, the ASU Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling for any changes to programs or departments to be submitted to the university's Academic Policies and Procedures Committee for approval, and Gonzalez agreed to present the report to AP&P this month.

Academic administrators said the program prioritization review considered such factors as graduation rates, uniqueness in the University of North Carolina system and other quantitative and qualitative measures, in addition to low productivity (low enrollment numbers).

The December 2013 report also noted "there is a widely held perception that ASU suffers from curriculum bloat more than any of the UNC schools."