Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne is suspending or eliminating a number of academic programs as part of an academic prioritization process, a state agency’s recommendation that the institution become a Purdue-only campus and an attempt to close a several-million-dollar budget gap, caused in part by declining enrollment, The News-Sentinel reported. Degree programs in French, geology, German, philosophy and women’s studies are suspended, effectively immediately. Eight additional majors within existing departments, six teaching programs and four graduate programs have been shut down. The university is planning a teach-out program for currently enrolled students. Tenured faculty members in affected programs will be reassigned to different departments. The future of the campus’s nursing, dental education and medical imaging programs is still under discussion. Degree programs in environmental geology and environmental policy were cut previously, in July.
“To use a real estate analogy, Purdue is in a position where it will be acquiring properties,” Andy Downs, professor of political science and Faculty Senate president at Indiana-Purdue, told The News-Sentinel. “They want to make sure they get good properties. [Indiana University] knows what it's getting.”
An online petition with more than 1,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon seeks to save the women’s studies program, saying that it is “growing in size, with more majors than ever. It also generates more than twice in revenue than what it costs to operate the program. This is clearly not about cutting costs.” In a letter announcing the changes to faculty members, Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management at Indiana-Purdue, said that after a meeting last week with state university system leaders, he “had failed to recognize or appreciate previously … that in the minds of the trustees these two processes [of campus realignment and academic prioritization] are inexorably linked.”