The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents voted Monday to suspend 10 academic programs. Three other academic offerings are undergoing redesign.
Provost Janna Vice said the plan doesn’t call for cutting any tenured faculty. “There will be some non-tenured faculty that will be reduced as a result of these decisions,” she said. “But, we realize that that is somewhat of an ongoing process. That’s not just limited to program suspension.”
Among the programs being suspended are Comparative Humanities, the MBA in accounting, and French. Other programs such as Journalism and Horticulture will be redesigned.
The cuts come as EKU faces a projected $13 million budget shortfall.
Initially, there were 21 programs under review for suspension including theater. Vice said while a theater major is being cut, a minor is being retained. She said student productions will continue as long as certificates in theater are offered. “The question is how many can they do within the resources that they have,” she said.
Students currently enrolled in the defunct majors are being offered a chance to graduate with a degree in their area of study. Students in those programs should discuss the specifics of that path with their academic advisor.
Student Regent Collin Potter said the decision-making was driven in part by low enrollment in some of the programs. “The students are showing where they’d like to see the programs go by picking the programs they go into, so these programs don’t have as high a demand as others right now,” Potter said.
The school’s faculty senate chose not to offer recommendations on programs to be suspended. Board Chair Craig Turner expressed his disappointment over that group’s decision. “We cannot opt out of making these decisions. If you don’t participate, you lose your voice. If you cannot contribute to a plan to succeed, you are planning to fail,” said Turner.
Faculty Regent Richard Day asked the board not to give up on the faculty or shared governance. He said a faculty committee did conduct a program-by-program review.
EKU President Michael Benson said the decision-making process was influenced by action taken by the state’s General Assembly. “This is also with a view toward performance based funding, which none of us fully comprehends the total collateral impact it will have, because it’s so unknown,” noted Benson.
Students currently enrolled in the programs to be suspended will be able to continue their study and graduate with those degrees.