Workgroup no.7 handed in notecards stating their recommendations for the future of academic programs on campus at their meeting Tuesday.
On each notecard, the members took every program and assigned it a one, recommending it continue with increased resources; a two, recommending the program needs to enhance its marketability; a three to recommend plans to improve its efficiency or a four signifies that a program should be deleted or outsourced.
Workgroup chair Cindy Rich, program director of secondary education and foundations, said the group would not be going over the recommendations at meetings; instead, everyone will be split into pairs to compile and put all of the notecards together.
These results will go into the preliminary report, which will be sent to the administration.
“Hopefully, department chairs get (the report) and they will respond so anything that we’re missing they can tell us ‘Hey, we’re doing this to address our enrollment decline or we’re creating this online program to increase enrollment,’” Rich said. “So when they give us those responses that’s what’s going to go into our final report.”
In the report, the group plans to put their majority and minority opinions on what their recommendations are.
Rich said the workgroups have a good mix of faculty and staff who know about academic programs, though she does not know what the recommendations necessarily are.
“We know which programs students are looking at. The top majors with higher enrollment are indicative of strong programs, but the liberal arts and gen ed (classes) are very, very important so nobody’s discounting them,” Rich said.
Rich said when looking at top majors besides the general studies program, there was kinesiology and sports studies, psychology, communication studies, biological studies, family and consumer sciences, elementary education, management, marketing, sociology and the nursing program.
“We’re seeing students that have a focus in a specific content area but a robust general education program is important to all of us,” Rich said. “Everybody here wants that. Nobody wants that to go away. But you see who is going to EIU and why.”
She said some departments have a small number of majors, but can be used for general education student hours.
“Because so many people want those classes, there’s no way to get rid of those classes,” she said.
Though recommendations for academic programs themselves were not explicitly addressed, business professor Scott Stevens said the comprehensive nature of a liberal arts education made eliminating programs difficult, so he looked at it from a structural standpoint.
“I’m not real happy about it, but one of my recommendations is to eliminate my job,” Stevens said. “If you’re going to be fair, you’re going to be fair.”
Stevens, a Unit B faculty member, said he did a labor analysis based on the data he was given, and now believe there are too many part-time, adjuncts Unit B non-tenured faculty on this campus.
“They could be eliminated,” Stevens said. “The numbers show that based on the analysis based on student credit hours per faculty member.”
Rich said students are needed to fill classes to let faculty do what they need to do.
“A thousand students changes everything,” Rich said.
She said Stevens’ recommendations will probably be put in their comments.
“It is a problem, and I know faculty are stepping up, people are teaching other classes, combining some faculty (who teach) upper-level classes are now teaching lower classes,” Rich said.
Mike Murray, director of development at the Neal Welcome Center, said the group is meeting because the university has issues that relate to enrollment and finances, which are tied together.
“We’re at a place and time right now where nothing is sacred,” Murray said. “Not that there aren’t people who they think are sacred, got to get out of boundaries here.”
Rich said all the data has been reviewed; now, it is just a matter of submitting the recommendations.
“I don’t know what recommendations could look like,” she said. “It’s all based on how people look at the information.”
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]