On Monday, Bradley President Stephen Standifird emailed the student body with details of changes to the school’s academic program offerings, including a number of programs being considered for discontinuation.
While it may be nice to not see your major on the list, it’s important to think about those that were directly affected by these cuts and the indirect effects the cuts will have. Many students’ academic careers are being restructured and many faculty members need to look for a new job.
With these circumstances, there’s a sentiment surrounding the cuts ringing out around the university, and The Scout agrees with the rest of the student body.
While cuts in some form were imminent due to the budget deficit, projecting to cut so many programs is not fair to the students that have to upend their plans in the middle or at the start of their college careers.
This is also unfair to the professors that teach these programs. tThey will have to teach more classes to make up for the loss of faculty members or find jobs at other institutions. Faculty from programs not affected by the cuts are also being fired, showing that the amount people involved is more than what was initially reported.
There are an additional five programs that will likely not be offered as majors or concentrations but will still be a part of the Bradley Core Curriculum (BCC), a set of classes spanning different disciplines that every student needs to graduate.
Cutting these programs but still offering them as “service units” is unacademic. It will not matter if a student discovers an interest in a subject in a BCC course; they can’t explore it further by adding a minor or concentrating in it.
Professors in these programs, many of whom have doctorates and enjoy academia, might be forced to teach 100 and 200 level courses with students that don’t care about the topic and just hope to pass. No longer will they be able to foster student interest, lead students to a career in one of these fields or teach high-level courses that enrich them and their students.
According to Standifird’s letter, an estimated 3.5% of students will be affected by these changes.
However, with so many departments being cut, a majority of students are bound to be impacted somehow. Many classes fall under a program being considered for discontinuation, such as engineers who have to take both math and physics courses to graduate. While classes in those subjects will still be available, the quality of them will likely be different.
We also implore the university to look at athletics. The cost of running a Division I institution is major, but there are ways to cut down on spending in the athletic department without completely gutting its teams. The men’s basketball team, for example, charters planes to and from their destination out of the Peoria airport. They get to take charter planes while academic majors get discontinued.
Despite all these changes, Bradley says that “providing a world-class education remains our top priority.” Time will tell if that ends up being true.