Seven programs face cuts at EKU

Seven majors, nine minors and five academic concentrations at Eastern Kentucky University face suspension as a result of recent state budget cuts to higher education.

Majors and minors in comparative humanities, French, geography, horticulture and journalism were among those recommended for suspension by EKU’s  Academic Budget Review Subcommittee.

EKU president Michael Benson and Provost Janna Vice posted an update on Aug. 25 to EKU’s website about the effect of recent state budget cuts.

In the update, they wrote that the university has been subjected to cuts in state funding for more than a decade, but the prevalence of performance-based results forced them to consider suspension of programs.

“We find ourselves in this position thanks in large part to the actions of others: the reduction of our state appropriation and the proposed performance-based funding model, which is still under development,” the administrators wrote.

On Sept. 15, representatives of the programs recommended for suspension will have the chance to propose solutions to keep their programs before the Council on Academic Affairs.

The subcommittee submitted their report on Aug. 15, and found that 159 students are currently enrolled in the degree programs. The 159 students in make up less than 1 percent of student enrollment the report said. 

Criteria for consideration by the subcommittee included having less than 10 graduates per year based on a 3-year average. By this standard the subcommittee found that 30 percent of the baccalaureate programs needed review.

The university would not sacrifice the paths of the students already enrolled, but the estimated savings for cutting all of the programs on the list is between $1 million and $1.8 million.

Faculty layoffs may be a consequence of the budget cuts but the subcommittee’s report said faculty could be retained to teach students enrolled in at-risk programs.

A program’s suspension does not necessarily mean that all of the classes within the program will end or that the program’s faculty will face layoffs. For example, the report said that some French classes will likely remain even if the university no longer offers a Bachelors of Arts in French.

Heads of the programs became aware that they were up for consideration in April and will be reviewed by the Council on Academic Affairs, the Faculty Senate and President Benson before they go to the Board of Regents for a final decision at the end of this year.

Instead of being completely suspended, some curriculum from lost programs will be absorbed into other programs.

The report considered incorporating journalism into the Broadcast and Electronic Media degree program, and said that the school’s student newspaper, The Eastern Progress, will continue even if there is not a journalism program.