Cost cuts might cause MSU to discontinue number of programs
The futures of the departments of Communicative Sciences and Disorders and Geological Sciences, along with several other programs, hang in the balance after dozens of potential cuts were announced Friday at the MSU Board of Trustees meeting.
The recommendations represent the university’s effort to deal with shrinking funds while supporting activities that enhance the university’s future, according to MSU’s Shaping the Future Web site. The university must confront a 15 percent to 20 percent reduction in its operating budget during the next three years.
The possible cuts were announced by MSU Provost Kim Wilcox, who also talked about possible program disinvestments at all levels, such as the American Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters and retailing in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Various undergraduate degrees also were recommended for discontinuance, such as those in the Veterinary Technology Program and Classical Studies in the College of Arts and Letters.
Wilcox said the recommendations partly were based on areas including student learning, reputation, research productivity and cost. At the meeting, the number of people who could lose their jobs and specific details of the cuts were not discussed.
Pamela Whitten, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, said decisions to disinvest from certain areas in the college were “painful.”
Recommended department closures:
Department of Geological Sciences — College of Natural Science
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders — College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Recommended program disinvestments:
American Studies — College of Arts and Letters
Retailing — College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Environmental Geosciences, Geological Sciences — College of Natural Science
Education specialist degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education, Education specialist degree in K-12 Educational Administration-College of Education
Interior Design and Facilities Management — College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Theatre (M.A. only) — College of Arts and Letters
Counseling — College of Education
Voice Performance, Jazz Studies (within M. Mus. in Jazz Studies) — College of Music
Computational Chemistry, Environmental Geosciences, Geological Sciences, Zoo and Aquarium Management — College of Natural Science
Family Studies, History — Secondary School Teaching, Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science: Global Applications, Marriage and Family Therapy, Research Methods in Clinical Psychology (Concentration within M.A. Psychology) — College of Social Science
Agribusiness (Master’s level specialization) — College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Applied Developmental Science (Interdepartmental master’s level specialization and doctoral level specialization), Food & Agricultural Standards (master’s level specialization and doctoral level specialization), Security Management — College of Social Science
Analytical Foundations of Fisheries and Wildlife Biology (concentration within B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife), Environmental Soil Science, Environmental Economics & Policy-Planned conversion to specialization, Plant Pathology, Technology Systems Management-College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Classical Studies — College of Arts and Letters
General Business Administration — Prelaw-Broad College of Business
Earth Science-Interdepartmental, Environmental Geosciences, Geological Sciences, Geophysics, Physics and Geophysics, Statistics — College of Natural Science
Communicative Sciences and Disorders — College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Voice Performance, Jazz Studies (area within B.Mus. Jazz Studies) — College of Music
Veterinary Technology — College of Veterinary Medicine
Marine Ecosystem Management — College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Information Technology — Broad College of Business
Canadian Studies — College of Social Science
Source: MSU’s Shaping the Future Web site
“Retailing was selected due to its lack of fit within the core mission of the college of communication,” she said. “In addition, retailing is the smallest program in the college and enrollment has declined significantly in the past five years.”
Rodney Runyan, an MSU alumnus, holds graduate degrees in retailing and said the program is needed.
“Not only is this program a large program on campus in terms of enrollment … there are employers out there wanting to employ the graduates,” he said.
Ralph Taggart, chairperson of the Department of Geological Sciences, said the department will go through a lot as the university considers proposed cuts.
“Many things about the strength of the department were not taken into consideration,” he said.
Others on the chopping block were shocked as rumors of cuts were confirmed.
“To feel that it’s OK to cut a member of the veterinary health care team, it’s kind of a kick in the pants,” said Sarah Tomasik, an instructor in the Veterinary Technology Program. “Even though we’re a small program, we’re a valuable asset to this college especially because when people hear Michigan State, they think the veterinary school.”
Discussions on the proposed cuts will continue in the appropriate Academic Governance committees, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said.
“There is no easy programmatic decision,” she said. “We understand that all the programs we offer are important and needed. … That makes this task even more difficult.”
The announcements Friday represent a point in a long process, Wilcox said.
Simon also announced university plans to aid students who are affected by the loss of funding for the Michigan Promise Scholarship.
The university will use stimulus funding to cover all resident undergraduate students’ Promise grants for this fall semester, Simon said. In the spring, part of the stimulus funds will be used to ensure students of high need will have the full $1,000 in Promise Scholarship funding for the year, Simon said.
The university also will offset spring semester tuition, one time only, for all resident undergraduate students by $5 per credit.