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Originally published: 2014-03-07 12:30:23
Last modified: 2014-03-07 12:31:09

ASU leaders alter planned program cuts

by Anna Oakes

Appalachian State University leaders have altered academic program elimination plans announced late last year as a result of a faculty committee's recommendations.

ASU Chancellor Ken Peacock and Provost Lori Gonzalez said in an email Tuesday that they have decided to cut five academic programs instead of the nine announced in December. The university's top two leaders reconsidered their decisions following recommendations made by the ASU Academic Policies and Procedures Committee Feb. 19.

"As stewards of public resources, we are expected to make challenging decisions," they said. "Several of the programs under consideration have consistently been identified on the UNC low enrollment review lists for multiple cycles."

Peacock and Gonzalez decided to uphold their original decisions to eliminate master's programs in child development: birth through kindergarten and in criminal justice and criminology despite recommendations from the AP&P Committee to retain them. Decisions to cut master's programs in music education, gerontology and history education -- which were supported by the committee -- will also stand, they said.

The administrators accepted committee recommendations to consolidate three undergraduate programs slated for elimination: business education, family and consumer sciences/secondary education and technology education. They also agreed to retain the master's program in romance languages for at least two years.

"The realities of the new era mean that we must succeed in different ways," Gonzalez and Peacock said in the email, sent to campus faculty. "One of those ways is by more regular and prudent review of all of our university activities and expenditures. We must prioritize, and a systematic schedule and process for academic program review must be part of our institutional strategy."

The plan will be shared with the ASU Board of Trustees, UNC System President Tom Ross and, following his direction, with the Board of Governors, they said.

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 in December.

Many faculty members criticized the prioritization process last fall, arguing that administrators failed to follow established academic governance procedures.

Kern Maass, chairman of the AP&P Committee, said the committee would likely review program consolidation recommendations next fall.