Professors will attempt to educate trustees about the importance of their programs at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting. This is a response to the BOT’s Special Committee for Program Review, which decided last week to consider the review and potential discontinuance of 10 academic programs.
The special committee will be presenting the following undergraduate degrees for review: Journalism (which has 117 students enrolled), sociology (87), anthropology (60), biotechnology (51), philosophy (42), music performance (42), theatre (38) and economics (32). The graduate degree programs for computer information systems and criminal justice are also under review. If pre-economics and pre-music performance majors are included in this list, there are 540 students enrolled in these programs as of fall 2014.
The BOT may or may not decide to review these programs for discontinuance. If they do decide to go through with a review, it will take several months for the review to happen, and then several years for programs to be discontinued.
Approximately 30 professors met Monday, April 20 to discuss strategies to defend their programs at the BOT meeting.
Robert Gregerson, Ph.D and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, encouraged professors at the meeting to work together to defend their programs.
“If we lose programs, we lose as a college,” Gregerson said.
Many professors expressed concern that the trustees were given incomplete information when they decided which programs to look at, and that the trustees did not set clear criteria for which programs to discuss.
The Special Committee decision came after members were handed a list of enrollment numbers in each of the degree programs Florida Gulf Coast University offers. They chose the programs with the lowest number of graduates in the last five years, even though this list did not include students with a double major.
To look for the employment rates of FGCU alumni who graduated from specific degree programs, the BOT may use the Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program. This database only provides information for students who stay in the state of Florida after graduation.
Professors also observed that because FGCU is a relatively young school compared to other universities in Florida, its programs and alumni are also young.
Glenn Whitehouse, Ph.D. and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said, “We haven’t had the time for our students to become CEOs yet.”
If the BOT were to cut these programs, it would make FGCU the only Florida public university − with the exception of Florida Polytechnic University − that does not have a philosophy or economics degree program. It would make FGCU one of four Florida public universities that does not have a sociology, anthropology, journalism, music performance or theatre program. FGCU and the University of Central Florida are the only universities in the Florida state university system that offer a biotechnology program.
The BOT Special Committee for Program Review will present its courses for program review to the BOT on Tuesday, April 21 at 11:30 a.m. in the Cohen Center ballroom.