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Bradley proposes to cut programs and reallocate resources

Photo by Tony Xu.

On Wednesday, all full-time Bradley faculty members received an email from Walter Zakahi, provost of the university and senior vice president for academic affairs, announcing a list of recommendations for a significant cut in programs and for reallocation of the investments to better-performing programs.

The email included the University Strategic Planning Committee’s metrics and rankings of Bradley’s 169 programs, including undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

All programs were segmented into quintiles. Each quintile consists of 33 to 34 major programs, with room to adjust for additional factors. Minors or other certificate programs were not included in this evaluation.

The recommendation states the university will work to invest more in the top quintile programs. Programs in the fourth and the fifth quintiles will be monitored. In the event of a resignation from a faculty member of these programs, funds from vacancies the fifth quintiles are “likely” to be allocated to other programs. Vacancy funds in the fourth quartile will only be recieved with careful considerations.

The recommendation proposes to eliminate all degree programs in the Department of Physics and the Department of Theatre Arts. It also included three out of six undergraduate programs in the Department of Family and Consumer Science — retail merchandising, family and consumer science education and family and consumer science. These eliminated departments will continue to offer courses under the Bradley Core Curriculum and courses for other curriculums. The eliminations of the programs will eventually go through the University Senate approval process.

The proposal also calls for the absorption of manufacturing engineering into the School of Mechanical Engineering, the merger of the political science department with Institute for International Studies and the merger of philosophy and religious studies into a single program. Two graduate and one undergraduate concentration in the industrial and mechanical engineering department will also be eliminated.

Students in the programs affected will be “taught out” until the completion of the degree, and tenured faculty members will not face job losses, according to Zakahi’s email.

Departments like nursing, interactive media, mechanical engineering, education, chemistry and biochemistry, counseling, psychology and biology shared some of the top-performing programs.

The overall scores for program rankings are calculated based on internal reviews, department reports and data provided by Gray and Associates Scorecard, a consultant agency hired by Bradley.

Categories calculated includes program demand with 30 percent weight, unit quality weights 25 percent, centrality to Bradley’s mission weights 15 percent, unit efficiency and productivity weights 15 percent and unit financial viability weights 15 percent.

Following the email, there were over 100 faculty members and administrators in attendance at the University Senate meeting on Thursday to voice their concerns and ask questions. Zakahi and university president Gary Roberts attended the meeting.

In the meeting, Zakahi further elaborated that within the programs that could be eliminated, tenure applications from faculty members would unlikely be approved. Many faculty members voiced their concern over the fairness of that decision.

University administrators will present the recommendations to the Board of Trustees of the university next weekend. Zakahi will host two informational forums following the board meeting and prior to the next senate meeting on Feb. 20.

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