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Buffalo schools have adopted a curriculum that pushes the controversial idea that all White people perpetuate systemic racism, while 80% of its students fail to reach proficiency in reading and writing, an editor said Wednesday.  City Journal editor Chris Rufo, during an appearance on "The Ingraham Angle," said the "diversity czar" of Buffalo public schools was caught on tape saying she believes that America's sickness leads some White people to believe Black people are less than human.  One of the district's instructional materials also includes the assertion that "all White people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism." He said the narrative of system racism has also spread to schools across the country, which shifts attention away from "their own abysmal failure to educate kids." BUFFALO'S SCHOOL DISTRICT TELLS STUDENTS THAT 'ALL WHITE PEOPLE PLAY A PART IN PERPETUATING SYSTEMIC RACISM' "Woke academics and

UVM's College of Arts and Sciences to cut low-demand programs - Vermont Biz

UVM's College of Arts and Sciences to cut low-demand programs - Vermont Biz


UVM's College of Arts and Sciences to cut low-demand programs - Vermont Biz

Posted: 02 Dec 2020 01:44 PM PST

UVM photo by Sally McCay

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont will eliminate low-enrollment programs in the College of Arts and Sciences as it continues efforts to ensure its academic programs meet current and future student demand, and distribute resources, it says, in a way that will further strengthen the robust liberal arts education it offers.

Earlier today, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bill Falls announced a plan to phase out programs that have had consistently low enrollments or have graduated—on average—fewer than five students a year over the past three years. The College of Arts and Sciences has more than 4,500 students.

Programs identified for the phase out are 12 of the College's 56 majors, 11 of its 63 minors, and 4 of its 10 master's degree programs. The plan is based on several years of data gathering and is focused on solidifying and building programs where UVM has strength. Students in discontinued programs will be able to complete their degrees.

The College's actions reflect the need to respond to enrollment declines and to address its substantial structural budget deficit, which is on the order of $8.6 million. They also provide the College with an opportunity to more closely align its resources with areas of high enrollment demand and foster the vitality necessary to achieve a high-quality academic experience.

"These difficult decisions were the result of careful thought and consultation over the last several years, and were informed by data and guided by a strategy to focus on the future success of the College of Arts and Sciences," said Provost and Senior Vice President Patricia Prelock. "They also reflect UVM's commitment to providing our students with an array of properly resourced programs that can maintain strong enrollments and foster the vitality necessary to achieve a high-quality academic experience."

Dean Falls is meeting with affected faculty and staff to discuss the implications of the proposed plan and processes. 

LETTER FROM DEAN FALLS

December 2, 2020

Dear CAS Faculty and Staff,

We have reached a critical point where it is incumbent upon us to institute changes that will protect the College and position it for future success. This has been some time in the making. In a 2018 memo, I wrote that we were at a crossroads and that we needed to consider different approaches to address the nation-wide decline in liberal arts enrollment foreshadowed by the Great Recession. Between 2010 and 2016, this shift resulted in more than a 17% decline in enrollment and a 20% decline in student credit hours at the College with our humanities and arts enrollments suffering the most.

Together, we sought ways to reverse this trend, pushing back on the belief that a major must align with a specific career, and emphasizing the power of a liberal arts education to provide our students with broadly applicable and transferable skills. Our enrollments and student credit hours have stabilized since 2016, but we are still well below where we were pre-recession. The decline in enrollments created a structural deficit in the College that was fully revealed in fiscal year 2017 (FY2017). In FY2017 CAS submitted a budget with a deficit of $1.73M. In FY2018 this deficit grew to over $3M causing the central administration to permanently increase CAS' subvention by $2M. While this decreased CAS' FY2018 deficit to $1.03M, the deficit grew to $1.8M in FY2019 and $2.46M in FY2020 A combination of cost savings measures taken within the fiscal year, efforts to increase summer revenue, and use of one-time funds (Fund 108, CAS' "savings account") have allowed CAS to finish each fiscal year without a deficit. However, the fact that revenues are less than planned expenses each year demonstrates that structural changes must occur.

It is important to note that 96% of CAS' non-support center budget is in personnel. For that reason, efforts to reduce expenses have focused on non-replacement of faculty who retire or leave the University and reduction of NTT FTE. From FY2017 to present, CAS has seen the retirement or separation of 48 tenured/tenure-track faculty. Every academic Department except Asian Languages and Literatures has been affected. Tenure-track hiring has been severely limited with only 19 hires, 2 of which were hired with financial support from the Provost and Vice President for Finance. Overall, the number of tenured/tenure track faculty has declined by 11% since 2016 with some departments absorbing the loss of nearly a third of their faculty. To maintain instruction across the breadth of our majors, we have increased the number of NTT faculty by 5% while maintaining the same level of NTT FTE we had in 2016. Still, this tactic has put many departments perilously close to not being able to serve their majors and minors and has put the College's ability to serve the broader instructional needs of the College and University in jeopardy.

We also sought new revenue to close the structural budget gap. More than 72% of our revenue comes from undergraduate student credit hours, far more than any other College. We have added a new interdisciplinary major, created a robust internship program, and partnered with enrollment management to focus our recruitment strategy to increase student yield. While yield has increased 2.5% since 2016, still only 17% of CAS' admitted students choose to enroll.

We have redoubled our efforts to increase student retention by providing better advising support for faculty and introducing professional advising for first-year students. Still, we lose 15% of our first-year students by their second year. We have also sought to increase summer revenue by reducing costs and increasing course margins.

We introduced an online degree completion program (which was unsuccessful and discontinued) and added accelerated master's programs. However, our structural deficit has remained. The pandemic and its associated stresses on the University have underscored and amplified CAS's structural deficit. CAS is now facing an unprecedented $8.6 million deficit in the current fiscal year (FY2021) and projected deficits of $10.1M in FY2022 and $9.2M in FY2023. The tactics used to this point for reducing costs—non-replacement of retiring or separated faculty, NTT FTE reductions—are insufficient to close a $8M - $10M deficit and CAS has exhausted its Fund 108 "savings account." Despite our efforts over the last few years, our significant structural deficit means that we can no longer sustain our current departmental structure and the full range of majors, minors and master's programs. To do so would require that we continue to diminish all departments, majors, and programs jeopardizing the overall quality of our education, our ability to respond to student interests, our ability to weather future challenges, and our ability to evolve our curriculum which is so desperately needed if we are going to be successful into the future.

The President and Provost are directing CAS to take immediate action to close its structural deficit in part by terminating low enrollment programs and combining or eliminating academic departments. Therefore, following a data-informed process I am initiating a process to recommend termination of 12 low enrollment majors, 11 low enrollment minors, and 4 master's programs and combine or eliminate a number of academic departments.

Twenty-four majors, 27 minors, and 4 master's programs were identified as low enrollment programs based on the three-year average (academic years 2017, 2018, 2019) of the number students in the program and the number of students completing the program (see Appendix). For the master's programs, program revenue and expenses were also considered.

Majors in Classic Civilization, Greek, and Latin, the minors in Classics, Greek Language and Literature and Latin Language and Literature, the Master's in Greek & Latin, and the Master at Teaching in Latin are recommended for termination. The 3 majors have graduated a combined average of 2.1 students per year over the last three academic years. The three minors have graduated a combined average of 1.7 minors per year.

The master's in classics has awarded an average of 1.7 degrees per year. The Department of Classics has 4 tenured faculty and one non-tenure track faculty and has been unable to offer the full range of courses needed to complete the three undergraduate majors, three minors, and the master's degree. Because courses sometimes fail to meet College course minima, faculty have resorted to combining 100- and 200-level courses into a single course and offering courses as independent study. With the lack of student interest and little prospect for faculty hiring, these programs are no longer sustainable.

Majors in Geology (BA/BS), the minor in Geology, and the Master's in Geology are recommended for termination. Enrollments in both the BA and BS in Geology have been on the decline in recent years, in part due to increased interest in Environmental Sciences. Enrollments in the already small-capacity upper-level geology courses are low, contributing to a low student/faculty ratio Department-wide (3-year average of 12 to 1, the fourth lowest in the College). Enrollment in the MS in Geology is also declining and except for academic year 2018 where 10 MS degrees were awarded, the program has awarded an average of 3 degrees per year over the last 5 years and 4 degrees over the last 10 years. Together these factors contribute to making the cost per student credit hour in the Department among the highest in the College.

The major in German is recommended for termination. Enrollments in German have declined in recent years, and, with another retirement this spring, it is not possible to staff the courses required to offer a full major.

By closing the major, we can still serve the minor, but also ensure the availability of faculty to teach for HCOL, TAP, Holocaust Studies, FTS, and WLIT. The major in Italian Studies and the minors in Italian and Italian Studies are recommended for termination. Italian enrollments have been very low in recent years. With an average of 3 majors in Italian and less than one degree awarded per year and fewer than 4 minors awarded per year in Italian or Italian Studies, the programs are no longer sustainable. By closing the major and the minors, we may still offer instruction in Italian and ensure the availability of faculty to teach for HCOL and interdisciplinary programs in CAS.

The major in Religion is recommended for termination. The Religion major is historically small and while there has been a modest increase in majors recently, pending faculty retirements will make the major unsustainable. By closing the major, we can still serve the minor, but also ensure the availability of faculty to teach critical courses in HCOL, general education, and interdisciplinary programs. The regional studies majors of Asian Studies, European Studies, Latin Amer & Caribbean Studies, and Russian & Eastern European Studies and the regional minors of GRS:Canada and GRS:Europe are recommended for termination. Enrollments and degrees awarded in these majors and minors have been low for some time, in part due to the popularity of the Global Studies Program, which has averaged 113 majors and 25 degrees awarded in the major over the last three years. While courses in these majors and minors largely come from other programs, terminating them will allow for discussion of the integration of the regional programs into Global Studies. The minors in Gerontology (Sociology), Speech & Debate (Theatre), and Vermont Studies are recommended for termination.

The master's program in Historic Preservation is recommended for termination. This is a small enrollment program that has averaged 5 students and 5 degrees awarded per year. However, the total program cost far exceeds program revenue and is no longer sustainable. Nine of the 24 low-enrollment majors and 16 of the 27 low enrollment minors are not being recommended for termination in the current plan. These programs are currently stable, not facing imminent faculty retirements, are programs whose courses are a subset of those offered as part of a more robust program (i.e., a BA which includes the same courses required for more robust BS major and has robust enrollment in upper-level courses. These include Anthropology, Chemistry, Physics, Zoology), or are new and thus unproven. However, moving forward it will be critical to continue to monitor enrollment in these and all other programs.

Department Consolidation and Closure.

I am recommending the departments of Art & Art History, Music, and Theatre & Dance be combined into a School of the Arts (or something similarly named). Faculty in these departments have already begun this process. I am recommending that the departments of Asian Languages & Literatures, German & Russian, and Romance Languages & Cultures be combined into a School of Languages (or something similarly named). I am recommending that the departments of Classics, Geology and Religion be closed along with the termination of their academic programs. Although the Religion minor is not recommended for termination, pending retirements will leave too few faculty to maintain an academic department.

Taken together these measures will not close the structural deficit in its entirety. However, they are a critical first step in reaching an initial target of reducing expenditures by $5M by FY2023. We will introduce additional retirement incentives and make every effort to reassign faculty. The Provost is aligning enrollment management strategies to strengthen the FTFY enrollment in CAS and CAS will continue its focused efforts on increasing student retention. Additional measures will be needed to achieve a balanced budget and I will be working with the Chief Financial Officer to help close the gap. However, the first and most critical step is to begin to close the structural deficit through the plan I have outlined in this memo.

This decision has been extremely difficult. It has been informed by data and guided by a strategy to focus on the future success of our College by consolidating our structure and terminating programs that can no longer be supported without jeopardizing programs with more robust enrollment. It is the expectation of the Board of Trustees, the President and the Provost that CAS move forward on this plan expeditiously. There is no other way forward for CAS to balance its budget.

There is a well-described process for program termination, department consolidation and elimination that involves consultation with the Faculty Senate, which will begin immediately. In the coming days and weeks I will meet with the affected faculty and the broader CAS faculty and staff to discuss the implications of this plan and the process that will be followed.

There will be ample opportunity for faculty to provide input on the plan as it makes its way through Faculty Senate Review. I am asking faculty to be open-minded and thoughtful in their comments, recognizing the significance of the structural deficit and the responsibility we have to be fiscally responsible by pursuing a balanced budget while providing a high-quality education for students in those areas with high demand.

APPENDIX

A data-informed process was used to identify majors that enrolled 25 or fewer students (less than 0.5% of all majors, including double majors) or graduated 5 or fewer students in the major (less than 0.5% of graduates) on average over the last three academic years (AY 2017-2108, 2018-2019, 2019-2020). The table shows the 3-year average of the number of students enrolled in the major and degrees awarded in the major (majors completed).

A data-informed process was used to identify minors that enrolled 15 or fewer students on average (less than 0.5% of all minors) over the last three academic years (AY 2017-2108, 2018-2019, 2019-2020) or graduated fewer than 5 minors on average over the last three years.

The table shows the 3-year average of the number of students enrolled in the minor and degrees awarded with the minor (minors completed).

Master's degrees in Classics, Geology, and Historic Preservation will be terminated. These master's degrees have averaged 5 or fewer degrees awarded over the last three years and where total program costs exceed program revenue.

Source: UVM 12.2.2020

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