Education

Others could follow NCCU's lead in cutting degree programs

Posted March 5, 2012

— Some of the University of North Carolina’s 16 campuses are re-evaluating their academic programs in the wake of severe budget cuts and anticipation for what's likely to be tough fiscal years ahead.

North Carolina Central University's Board of Trustees two weeks ago approved a measure to cut several of its degree programs and to consolidate several others

“We have about 14 programs that will be affected in some way or another," Chancellor Charlie Nelms said. "About five of them will be discontinued."

Nelms said the cuts come to those with lower enrollment, including the entire undergraduate and graduate sociology programs, public administration, art and French programs. Several others will be merged, such as the math and physics programs and English and foreign languages. (See which programs have been affected.)

The changes will involve cutting as many as 15 full-time administrative jobs and numerous part-time adjunct professors.

“We will be able to free up about $2 million that we will be able to reinvest in our highest priority, and that is to retain students,” Nelms said.

Students currently enrolled in the programs to be eliminated will still be able to earn their degree, and the university will continue monitoring all remaining programs, striving for efficiency.

“For those programs that remain, we are telling them they must develop enhancement plans,” Nelms said.

Others could follow NCCU's lead in cutting degree programs Others could follow NCCU's lead in cutting degree programs

Fayetteville State University has cut five undergraduate programs and two graduate programs over the past three years.

In addition to restructuring its administration to save about $50 million, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has also consolidated or cut programs over the last several years and will continue looking at other low-productivity programs for more possible cuts.

North Carolina State University is nearly a year into a similar evaluation of all its academic programs.

East Carolina University formed a committee formed last May to consider more than 50 options for altering the academic structure that could involve consolidating schools and possibly eliminating programs.

Budget cuts have already forced the 16 university campuses and the School of Science and Math in Durham to drop more than 3,000 employees and reduce library hours at Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, according to a UNC system report.

The UNC Board of Governors earlier this month approved a tuition increase plan that will raise fees by an average of 8.8 percent on UNC system campuses for the 2012-13 school year.

13 Comments

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  • jason19 Mar 5, 5:53 p.m.

    "The US spends more on education than every country except Switzerland. Our education isn't as good as MANY that spend well below what we spend. Obviously, the correlation to money spent and education isn't as strong as you state. Perhaps you should research what you say before putting blame on individuals wanting to live within their means."--picsatexhibition

    Oh yeah, "live within ours means." That is another psuedonym buzzword that makes certain people feel better about their ignorance. I had forgotten about that one.

    Anyway, while the U.S. public-school system may be not be the best, the universities in the U.S. are among the very best in the world -- that's a fact. It's precisely why our universities, despite the high cost of tuition, are filled to the brim with students from other countries. So maybe *you* need to do research, or failing that, just visit your local university and take a look around.

  • ThatGuyYetAgain Mar 5, 5:27 p.m.

    Once pretty much everybody in the job market above a certain level had a BA/BS degree, the market value of those degrees began to decline. Now Master's and PhD degrees are starting to suffer the same fate.

    Meanwhile, the education industry demands more and more $$ every year to feed all those administrators and tenured layabouts. Students and their parents are (finally!) figuring out that going into massive debt for the same worthless piece of paper everybody else has is stupid. This is just the very tip of the iceberg, only a start, but it's a healthy start. Anything that can't be sustained eventually won't be.

  • picsatexhibition Mar 5, 4:55 p.m.

    Jason19,

    The US spends more on education than every country except Switzerland. Our education isn't as good as MANY that spend well below what we spend. Obviously, the correlation to money spent and education isn't as strong as you state. Perhaps you should research what you say before putting blame on individuals wanting to live within their means.

  • issymayake Mar 5, 3:59 p.m.

    Athletic programs at UNC institutions have to be self-sufficient and do not receive any funding from the state.

  • issymayake Mar 5, 3:58 p.m.

    I'm curious about the impact budget cuts are having on humanities/liberal arts programs. These days "STEM education" is the buzzword/phrase. - kbrianf

    It's redefining the academy as an institution. Liberal arts and the social sciences are still valuable. How do we define and enhance the human condition without art, literature, writing, philosophy, sociology, education etc. . .?

    I certainly understand why some cuts had to be made, as the loss in state appropriations has been staggering. But this move doesn't invalidate their worth as majors. We were forced to make cuts to programs which have historically had lower enrollment numbers.

  • jdupree Mar 5, 3:35 p.m.

    EVERY UNIVERSITY HAS COURSES THAT ARE PRETTY WORTHLESS AND ARE FOR ATHLETES OR FILLER TO KEEP GRADES UP FOR MARGINAL STUDENTS. THESE COURSES NEED TO GO!

  • SMAPAEA Mar 5, 3:33 p.m.

    It is true...Athletic Programs are more self-sufficient than the rest of any school...a good team does go a long way for fundraising...but don't be fooled...those winning athletics programs don't share any of those funds back the school...they use it to pay the people that have to walk the athletes to class...

  • kbrianf Mar 5, 3:18 p.m.

    I'm curious about the impact budget cuts are having on humanities/liberal arts programs. These days "STEM education" is the buzzword/phrase.

  • jason19 Mar 5, 2:54 p.m.

    All of this pain has been inflicted as a result of (a) lowered General Fund revenues and (b) a tea-party legislature that does not value any form of education, be it public schools, community colleges, or universities. They think that good-paying, blue-collar jobs that require little education will continue to exist in large numbers, and that has *already* proven not to be the case.

    Get real, North Carolinians: China and other countries heavily invest in education for their citizens. Keep coming up with excuses like "we just don't have the money" or "we gotta do more with less" or "we gotta run this country more like a business." Keep saying that, while China and others continue stashing cash into their universities. You are competing with countries that *find* the money, come hell or high water. Your excuses and "free market no matter what" principles will be the end of you.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Mar 5, 2:47 p.m.

    "Why not cut some athletic programs instead?"

    Many athletic programs that aren't money generators are being cut. Nothing is immune to it. It's just what has to happen when there's just not enough money to do all the things you want to do.

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