By Associated Press
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point could eliminate more than a dozen majors and lay off staff to cope with a projected budget deficit of $4.5 million over two years.
University officials said the 13 programs that could be eliminated include American studies, art, English, French, geography, geoscience, German, history, music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.
The university also plans to add or expand 16 programs that have a higher demand to deal with declining enrollment and reduced tuition revenue, USA Today Network-Wisconsin reported. Those include computer information systems, graphic design and aquaculture.
Vice chancellor for academic affairs, Greg Summers, said reshuffling resources toward more popular majors is necessary because of increased competition in attracting a declining pool of high school students.
Democratic state Rep. Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point said she was saddened by the potential cuts. She said liberal arts and humanities majors play a critical role in today’s economy because of the critical thinking they teach.
“Eliminating liberal arts degrees is counterproductive to both the Wisconsin Idea and the workforce pipeline,” Shankland said in a statement Monday. “I’m saddened to see that the humanities are on the chopping block at UW-Stevens Point when they have contributed to so many people’s successes — including mine.”
University officials said students enrolled in any major that is discontinued would be able to complete their degrees. That would include students who enroll next fall.
The soonest any tenured faculty jobs would be cut is June 2020, according to the university.