Wisconsin's Controversial Proposal on Program Elimination

December 4, 2018

The University of Wisconsin at Stout’s science education program faces elimination because it doesn’t produce enough graduates, even though Wisconsin faces a science teacher shortage, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The fate of that program, along with an unknown number of other programs, depends on a proposed University of Wisconsin System policy linking numbers of graduates to continued funding on an accelerated timeline. A low-performing program is defined as one that produces fewer than five bachelor’s degrees per year over five years and three master’s degrees over the same period.

A faculty group from across Wisconsin already has asked the system to ensure that that decisions about program elimination happen through shared governance at the campus level. The change does not require a vote by the university system’s Board of Regents, just the approval of Ray Cross, system president. Heather LaRoi, system spokesperson, said in a statement that the modifications to existing guidelines on program productivity "aim to provide a structure for our campuses, so they have a consistent source of data when seeking to identify academic degree programs with low enrollment, and so that they may utilize campus resources as efficiently and effectively as possible." A public comment period for the policy ends Dec. 21.

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