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Viterbo Eliminates a Dozen Academic Programs

April 13, 2018
 
 

Viterbo University will eliminate a dozen programs following a formal sustainability review of majors with fewer than 20 enrolled students.

Glena Temple, the president of the small Roman Catholic liberal arts university in La Crosse, Wis., notified employees about the eliminations Thursday morning. Nine traditional undergraduate programs and three adult learning programs will close, she said in an email.

Current students in programs that will be closing will still be able to complete their degrees. New students are also being accepted into the programs for the fall 2018 semester, even if the programs were identified for closure.

Several more majors have been identified for additional modification in order to improve their enrollment and sustainability. More majors, emphasis areas and tracks could close based on additional reviews. University leaders do not know how many full-time faculty members will be affected by the changes, but they will not be affected until the 2018-19 academic year.

The university’s 2015 strategic plan calls for examining its academic portfolio, assessing the needs of students, evaluating the surrounding community’s needs and making adjustments, Temple said in an interview. Programs have been cut previously, including mathematical physics, sustainability and a sociology major. Resources have been reallocated to existing or new programs.

“This is the biggest group we have done, but we’ve had some other closures,” Temple said. “We have added some programs, such as finance and engineering, over the last couple of years.”

The university has experienced a slight decline in undergraduate enrollment but is in a good financial position because it carries little debt, Temple said.

“Like any school that’s tuition driven, we’ve had to make some adjustments,” she said.

Undergraduate programs to close are in art education, studio art, environmental biology, sport science and leadership, chemistry, liberal studies, philosophy, history, and broad field social studies. Art, chemistry, philosophy and history minors will be retained. Adult learning programs to close are associate's of art, associate's of science and substance abuse counseling programs.

The university will consider an alternative to the liberal studies major, expanding its professional studies major and a new adult learning degree related to social services.

This spring, Viterbo enrolls 1,694 undergraduates and 1,071 graduate students, counting both full-time and part-time students.

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