Over 450 degree programs at risk for cut

ULM Hawkeye

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34 ULM programs anxiously wait on the chopping block

As states are continually being forced to cut higher education budgets, the details of what can be deemed unnecessary are in­creasingly becoming more con­troversial.

A total of 24 undergraduate programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe are going to be reviewed to determine whether or not they should be retained.

The majors undergoing this process have allegedly failed to meet certain criteria set by the University of Louisiana System, most notably the number of graduates per year.

Many feel that some of the programs that have fallen into this list seem to be undeserving of speculation for cancelation. For instance, the Communica­tion Studies major has recently come under fire.

Carl Thameling, a ULM Pro­fessor of Speech Communica­tion, is worried about the Com­munication Studies programs.

“In the last three years, 2007- 10, Communication Studies had 21 completers instead of 24 completers, meaning the program missed the minimum completers requirement by three graduates,” Thameling said.

“It is very important for the university that all departments continue to examine themselves and to ensure we are providing the best edu­cational experience to students.”

Kevin Unter

Thameling explains that the numbers of completers is very important when states are evalu­ating a programs importance.

“If you were to examine the previous three years, 2004-07, Communication Studies had 27 completers, exceeding the mini­mum by three. Programs must have eight completers/graduates per year to meet Board of Re­gents requirements.”

Beau Johnston, a senior com­munication studies major from Monroe, originally started as a Physical Therapy major, but switched to communication studies.

“When I found out they were thinking of cutting the program, I quickly changed my major from PT to Public Relations so I could acquire a degree before they cut it,” Johnston said.

Speculation has also fallen onto the Political Science de­partment, again because of the lack of graduates in the past three years.

However, this is completely erroneous because the program hasn’t been in existence long enough to produce graduates.

Kevin Unter, Department Head of Gerontology, Sociology and Political Science laid the situation out.

“Political Science is a young program, only four years old,” Unter said.

Even though having a fairly recent start, the department has grown significantly.

“We started out with zero stu­dents in 2007 and are now over 80. These students are starting to graduate, so I fully expect Political Science numbers to exceed minimums set by the Board of Regents,” Unter said.

He continued to elaborate that 11 Political Science majors are expected to graduate in the spring.

These 11, combined with three from the fall and those ex­pected to graduate in the sum­mer, it will put the Political Sci­ence department well beyond the number expected by the Board of Regents.

Despite the controversy ac­companying these reviews, Un­ter says that no department is safe from budget cuts.

“It is very important for the university that all departments continue to examine themselves and to ensure we are providing the best educational opportuni­ties for our students.”

Although these reviews and potential cuts strike fear in some, the harsh reality is that the state can no longer afford to continue every major.

The most successful programs will stay, while those failing to produce must be cut for the bet­terment of the university as a whole.

However, just because a pro­gram is under review is no rea­son to panic.

ULM has many quality pro­grams that are being given the chance to be innovated and provide the highest standard of education.

Programs that achieve this will be here to stay.

contact Charles Strauss at

[email protected]