A list of academic programs being considered for discontinuation was released on Monday via an email to students from University President Stephen Standifird.
The email states that there are 17 programs being considered for discontinuation. Five programs/concentrations are also being considered for cuts and will no longer be offered as majors or concentrations, but as service units. These include economics, French, mathematics, philosophy and physics.
Despite course registration and advising happening on campus, Standifird says that now is the time to announce the potential cuts because it allows professors in those programs to plan for the future.
“We are making them now… [because] one of the things that I’ve gotten some questions about is delaying the process,” Standifird said. “We have the data we need to make the decisions. More importantly, it removes a veil of uncertainty that existed, which is one of the reasons we’re making the announcement now.”
For students, some of that uncertainty remains regardless if their program is being considered for discontinuation. However, even if select majors are cut, all students currently enrolled will be able to complete their programs.
“That’s something we’re absolutely committed to doing…The reality is if you’re a student in a particular major, you will get [to take] the classes you need to complete the major,” Standifird said.
To help ease student concerns, each college is going to have a care team consisting of advisors that will help answer questions that directly impacted students may have. Students are also able to reach out to the deans of each college.
There are a couple programs that will shift to only being offered in one college instead of multiple. The actuarial science program, for example, will be offered by the finance and quantitative methods department in the Foster College of Business.
Cocurricular entrepreneurship will be available at the Bradley University Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“Some of what we’re doing is…taking programs that exist in multiple areas and really focusing on one area so we can give them the attention that they deserve,” Standifird said.
In addition, faculty members in discontinued programs will not be directly affected by the official cuts until the end of the school year. As a result of these future program cuts, 47 currently occupied faculty positions will be eliminated and 21 positions will be eliminated through attrition.
“Nobody will be let go at the end of this semester,” Standifird said. “Everybody has contracts through May, so we finish out this academic year. What comes next really depends on the individual program.”
These program cuts will be one part of multiple advancements that the university is planning to improve the quality of existing academic programs.
“One of the things we’re constantly looking at is our strategy for ensuring the long-term success of the university, [this is] multi-faceted,” Standifird said. “One of them is focusing on cost and programs that are of high demand to students, and we will be making investments in those programs. This is going to be a multi-year process, so it might take some time before we are able to do that to the extent that we want to.”
A potential investment for the university is the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI). Standifird acknowledges that AI is a critically emerging field that students may be interested in and that they might desire courses in that area.
Following the Sept. 11 forum that Standifird held to address student concerns regarding the budget deficit, he anticipates there being future opportunities for students to express themselves.
Standifird’s email dictated that department chairs for all programs up for discontinuation have 30 days to respond and advocate for their programs. He aims to make all final decisions on or around Dec. 6.
Standifird understands that the budget cuts present difficult adjustments for students’ college careers, but is confident that this is the right move for the university’s future.
“These are really challenging changes and I recognize and appreciate that,” Standifird said. “I’m absolutely confident this is what we need to do to ensure the long-term success of Bradley.”