La Crosse Viterbo University eliminates several undergraduate programs

This email was sent out to Viterbo employees 

Members of the Viterbo Community:

Earlier this morning I notified people in individual academic programs about the decisions reached regarding academic programs that have undergone sustainability reviews over the last several months. 

The decisions were very difficult, as all of our programs bring gifts to our campus in many diverse ways.

As a reminder, all current students will be able to complete their major at Viterbo even if their program was identified for closure.  In addition, we are accepting new students into all the programs for the Fall 2018 semester, regardless of the closure decision.  However, current and prospective students will likely have questions so advisors from the Center for Student Success and the Academic Resource Center will be contacting current students in the majors individually and the Admissions office will contact prospective students individually.  I know faculty, staff and administrators will all offer support to students who are concerned about what these decisions mean to them.  This is who we are as a community. 

As a result of the program review process the following traditional undergraduate programs will close:
·         Art Education (B. AED)
·         Studio Art (BFA and BA)
·         Environmental Biology (BS) – though this may be delayed until 2019
·         Sport Science and Leadership (BS)
·         Chemistry (BS)
·         Liberal Studies (BLS)
·         Philosophy (BA and BS)
·         History (BA)
·         Broad Field Social Studies (BS) 


Minors will be retained in Art, Chemistry, Philosophy and History (and possibly others), and of course disciplines that are a significant part of the Core Curriculum will continue to serve the institution in that critical role.

An interdisciplinary group chaired by Dr. Susan Cosby Ronnenberg (Assistant Dean of COAL) will propose an alternative to the Liberal Studies major that may allow concentrations in some of the disciplines closed above. We will also study expanding the Professional Studies major to provide options for students in professional programs who change paths later in their career plan. We have also identified that we need to review our requirements for our BA degrees.  Tracy will form a committee to complete this work. 

As a result of the program review process the following adult learning programs will close:
·         Associates of Art (AA)
·         Associates of Science (AS)
·         Substance Abuse Counseling (BS)

An interdisciplinary group of social scientists will be charged with investigating a new potential adult learning degree related to social services. 

A number of additional majors were identified as needing modifications to increase enrollment and sustainability.  Programs will need to work closely with their dean to propose modifications to address the concerns raised by November 16th, 2018 for approval through our established curricular approval process.  This will likely result in emphasis areas and tracks being closed and possibly additional majors closing based on the research and review. The hope is to maintain the majors with modifications.

At this point we do not know how many full-time faculty will be impacted by these decisions (any impact would be for after the 2018-2019 academic year).  As teach out plans are established and future course needs identified we will evaluate each department identified to close or significantly modify.  As soon as we have information we will work individually with departments to outline this. 

I realize it will take some time to process the impact of the decisions, but I have faith that our supportive community will work to assist our students and our peers. I remind you that if employees need someone to talk there are internal and external resources to assist you.  The Employee Assistance Program is available at no cost to employees as part of our benefits package and is anonymous (see the HR website or the HR office for details).  In addition you may contact the following offices for resources or support:  Counseling Services x3808, Career Services x3827, Fr. Conrad Targonski x3804 or Campus Ministry x3805. 

Notifications will be sent to students and external stakeholder groups soon about the decisions.  I had hoped for a longer window for individuals directly impacted to process the news, but we are aware that our pending announcement has reached students and external parties. 

While I know we all understand the enrollment trendlines and ongoing challenges in higher education, these difficult decisions hurt our hearts regardless of the rationale.

Reach out with questions or suggestions for how I can help support the community during this time.

4 comments:

  1. "Sport Science and Leadership"
    They are kidding. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous @ 1:15 PM....What do you mean kidding? I was thinking of getting a Ph. D. in Sports Science and Leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Heart-breaking to think of a school that was founded to be a Catholic Higher Ed institution would eliminate so many humanities majors. Education should be about the pursuit of Truth and how to encounter that within the constructs of one's professional competencies.

    Per the criticisms by the two "anonymous" posters, the major is legitimate, even if it is considered to be not sustainable by the school and seems at face valuable to be mock-able. Honestly I'm a little surprised that they are eliminating the major considering the incredible increase in gyms, healthy living, etc., in our society, and the number of "leadership" programs Viterbo has made into their niche as a university.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And what, pray tell, do you do with a "Sports Leadership" degree?
    What does the 4 year course program include?
    And unless you are hired to coach the Packers, how do you make a living?

    ReplyDelete

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