After a five-month review, the South Dakota Board of Regents has identified 37 academic programs and 109 specializations within academic majors for termination due to a pattern of low enrollments. They were among 176 targeted for review as part of a comprehensive program productivity study within the public university system.
USD will cut nine programs.
"This is the first step in an ongoing process of continuous review," said Jack R. Warner, the regents' executive director and CEO. "While these changes will mean savings for our system, we understand that students will feel the impact. We intend to work closely with campuses, faculty, and individual students to make sure that students currently enrolled in targeted programs may successfully complete their degree work," Warner said.
In addition to terminated offerings, four sets of programs will be consolidated internally and another one will be consolidated within the system.
"The bottom line is that we must ensure a quality curriculum delivered cost effectively," Regents President Terry Baloun said. "We very much understand the state's fiscal problems and the impacts on our system. This process closely engaged faculty and administrators in a campus-level review, and it should position our public universities to become more dynamic, responsive, and efficient with limited resources," he said.
The review included all undergraduate programs with five or fewer graduates per year over the last four years. Master's programs with three or fewer graduates per year and all doctoral programs with 1.5 or fewer graduates annually were also reviewed. As a result, each program was classified into one of four categories: retain because of critical need, retain with further review required, consolidate with another program on campus or within the system, or terminate.
Warner said it appears that more work is needed soon to revisit a few additional low-enrolled programs. "There's a small set of programs that were retained right now, but with little additional justification for continuing them, especially since there are few graduates and other options do exist to provide students the same opportunities," he said. "We are prepared to forward a set of these programs to the board shortly."
Warner said the public universities also need to continue to support strategies to promote cooperation in delivering academic programs in foreign languages, math, and chemistry/physical science.