Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Political Science Ph.D., Theater Undergrad among UMSL Degree Programs That Could Be Cut

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Political Science Ph.D., Theater Undergrad among UMSL Degree Programs That Could Be Cut

Article excerpt

BELLERIVE - The University of Missouri-St. Louis may eliminate degree programs to deal with financial issues and, administrators say, to better serve the metropolitan area.

Among degrees that potentially may be cut at UMSL are anthropology, communications, political science and theater, according to a report compiled by a committee of deans and faculty.

The proposal has alarmed some students, a dozen of whom met with administrators on Thursday to air their concerns.

"If I have a degree from a program that no longer exists, I think employers would look at that and say there's an issue there," said Dana Channell, an undergraduate studying anthropology and music. "Can you conclusively say students won't be impacted?"

UMSL Provost Kristin Sobolik emphasized students currently enrolled in such programs, if they are cut, would be allowed to finish their degrees in those majors. Sobolik said the degrees would still be from an accredited university, but acknowledged she could not predict any "ripple effects."

"I can't control or understand all the impacts this may have," Sobolik said. "I can only concern myself with making sure current students get their degree."

The report also proposes consolidating the sociology, gerontology and gender studies programs into one. Military and veterans studies could also be consolidated, as well as political science, and the master's of public policy administration programs, as an alternative to being cut.

Degrees for supply chain and analytics, psychological sciences, physics, math and computer sciences, music, history, economics, and art and design remain under "further review" for a recommendation on their future, according to the university committee report finalized March 22.

Sobolik said no jobs would be lost as a result of any degree eliminations or consolidations of other programs. However, it's possible the university could leave positions unfilled when they're eventually vacated.

Amanda Lilly, a master's student in communications, worried her position as a graduate teaching assistant would be cut and affect whether she could afford to continue her degree. Sobolik said that wouldn't happen, but like many others, Lilly remained concerned about the future value of her degree if the program is eventually eliminated.

"It's a big concern because I'm applying to Ph.D. programs," Lilly said.

Kyle Carter, a former provost for the University of Central Missouri and now a consultant who advises colleges looking to cut or consolidate programs, said the cuts aren't expected to affect the value of students' degrees, that is, assuming the university remains accredited and in good standing. …

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