UW-Superior Suspends 9 Academic Majors

Updated: October 31, 2017 11:12 PM

SUPERIOR - The University of Wisconsin-Superior is suspending nine academic majors, 15 minors, and one graduate program in what university leaders call an effort to "remain responsive to regional needs."


The list of suspended programs includes:

Majors: Broad Field Science, Broad Field Science (Teaching), Chemistry: Forensic (concentration), Communicating Arts: Journalism (track), Communicating Arts: Media Studies (track), Political Science (major), Sociology (major), Theatre (major), Visual Arts: Art History (concentration)

Graduate Programs: Masters in Art Therapy  

Minors: Computer Science, Computer Science (Teaching), Earth Science, Geography, Geography (Teaching), Global Studies, Health and Human Performance, History (Teaching), Journalism, Legal Studies, Media Communication, Photography, Physics, Physics (Teaching), Psychology (Teaching)

The university said about 3 percent of it's students are enrolled in one of the majors being suspended, and most are in their senior year. New students will not be admitted into the programs that are being suspended, but students who have currently declared these majors or minors will be assisted in completion in their program of study.

“We are committed to helping students complete their current program of study. Faculty and professional academic advisors will work with students in these programs to ensure they can complete,” said Brenda Harms, Interim Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, in a news release.

Jackie Weissenburger, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, says the cuts were made because some programs don't draw enough interest.

"We're finding that it's difficult to offer so many different programs trying to cater to the programs students want, and seek versus those that demonstrate a lack of interest," said Weissenburger.   

She also said that a lot of first generation college students don't have the proper guidance, and are overwhelmed by the amount of programs that are offered.

"Once you lay out an incredible and lengthy list of programs and courses, many of these students find it difficult to navigate their way through," said Weissenburger.    

Dr. Eric Edwards, Associate Professor of Sociology, says the faculty were told they would be having an 8:00 meeting Tuesday morning, but were not told what it would be about.

"It makes me angry, it makes me depressed. It makes me feel like we're selling out our student experience." said Edwards reacting to the programs being suspended.

When Edwards found out about the suspensions, he says he told his class what was going to be happening. Then he says one student declared their major online to make sure they would be able to get into their program. Students are who Edwards says he is worried about most with the changes.

"I'm worried they won't have the number of options they had previously, and that their experience at the university will suffer because of that," said Edwards.

The university said there will be no faculty layoffs as a result of the program suspensions, and it will continue to offer more than 50 majors and more than 40 minors.

Edwards says faculty will become discouraged and want to leave because of the changes.

"I see this as a cowardly decision by the administration, to say 'we're not going to lay anybody off, no one will lose their job,' but at the same time expecting people to just leave," said Edwards.


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