University of Akron may cut 55 programs

AKRON, Ohio (AP) – A University of Akron official has proposed that the school eliminate 55 degree programs.

Provost Mike Sherman said the action would come after years of review and is necessary to “correct institutional drift.” The bachelor’s programs include theater arts and geography, and students would no longer be able to get a master’s degree in physics or urban studies.

Sherman presented trustees on Wednesday with a report identifying 11 associate, 13 bachelor’s, 27 master’s and four doctoral degree programs that he said no longer are popular or relevant to the school’s mission. They represent about 10 percent of the university’s offerings and will affect about 600 students, approximately 2 percent of the student population.

The proposal comes as the university tries to cut costs amid an enrollment decline.

“These are hard times, and everything cannot be sustained,” said Chand Midha, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who was chairman of the academic program review that led to the recommendations.

Students in the programs would be allowed to finish their degrees even if the programs were suspended. No faculty will lose their jobs, the university said. If a program is suspended, some courses may still be offered.

The university said the academic review may lead to other programs being enhanced, perhaps with increased investment in faculty.

The faculty senate will review the proposal and provide feedback to trustees, who will act on the recommendation April 23.

Some faculty already have agreed to close out some of the programs on the list, such as doctoral programs in elementary and secondary education, before trustees even take action.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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