Committee needs information on program elimination, consolidation by Friday

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

According to the EIU-UPI Unit A contract, the Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee needs to receive information by Friday about each program being considered for elimination or reorganization, if it would involve the layoff of an employee.

The purpose of the committee is to provide recommendations to Provost Blair Lord regarding these academic programs and departments.

Workgroup no. 7, which looked at academic programs during the vitalization project, originally recommended seven programs for deletion or consolidation.

At a meeting, Eastern President David Glassman told the Faculty Senate there are now five being considered.

These are the master’s degree in Special Education and the bachelor’s degrees in Africana Studies, career and technical education, adult and community education and philosophy.

If the consideration is for these programs to stop taking new majors starting the next Fall semester, the committee would need to be informed of this by Friday Jan. 20, Glassman said in an email.

“If the committee is informed after Jan. 20, the effective date for any program elimination approved by the Board of Trustees would be delayed by a year and would include the delaying of any Unit A faculty being notified of a layoff, if one was such to occur,” Glassman said.

Any board decision concerning the elimination or reorganization of any academic program resulting in a layoff would be communicated in writing to the employees of the program.

He added that all students currently in the major will be able to continue in the major until they graduate.

The information given to the committee by Lord would need to include data on enrollment, majors and course offerings and data on program costs.

The deadline for the Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee to make their suggestions to the Provost is March 15.

The Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Committee can ask for more relevant data and information if they need it.

The EIU-UPI contract states that when the committee makes its recommendations, it should also review: program costs and enrollment history; contributions the program makes to general education requirements; interdisciplinary and service functions; graduation requirements; the university’s curriculum; and what the program contributes to the mission and goals of the university.

Also involved in the process will be the Faculty Senate, Council on Academic Affairs, Council on Teacher Education and Graduate School, Glassman said.

In a CAA meeting, Stacey Ruholl, CAA chair and a kinesiology and sports studies professor, said the Provost reported to her that he is assembling a packet of information that will go to different groups Friday at the same time so they could review the materials.

She said this information will likely be a discussion item for CAA to discuss during next week’s meeting and will carry over into following meetings.

“We are going to look at the information and decide what our role is as a council in regards to the recommendations,” Ruholl said.

After this, if the administration still thinks the program should be eliminated, they will make that recommendation to the Board of Trustees, the only Eastern governing body that can delete an academic program.

Glassman said the board will be provided with the report from the Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee.

Richard Jones, a member of the Academic Program Elimination Review Committee, said committee members started communicating with each other a couple days ago.

“We knew the deadline was coming up, so we’ve had some communication back and forth to try to start planning what we’re going to do,” Jones said.

As of press time Thursday, the committee has not received any information from the administration yet, Jones said, but they are still planning to meet Friday regardless.

He said he anticipates receiving information Friday.

The Academic Program Elimination Review committee will convene and talk about its role according to the Unit A and B EIU-UPI contract and the Faculty Senate constitution.

“(We want to) make sure everybody’s on the same page so that we can be prepared,” Jones said.

If any information is received from the administration before the committee meets, it will be reviewed then.

“I think one of the questions that’s still remaining is, ‘Would consolidation or elimination really save money?’ I think that’s the question we really want to answer,” Jones said. “If the information is not included in the original packet, we would try to get that so we can determine if the cost saving is actually worth the drastic move to do elimination or consolidation.”

Jones said in regards to the eliminations leading to the laying off of employees, the group will look back at the Workgroup recommendations and talk about the response the committee should make.

“Of course, our responses are only advisory,” he said. “The president and the Provost and the Board of Trustees make the final decision.”

EIU-UPI President Jon Blitz said while there is always the possibility of layoffs, people tend to try to avoid them.

Jones said keeping with the fact that the other meetings were open, he thinks the Academic Program Elimination Review Committee meetings would be open.

While he said he cannot speak for everyone on the committee, he thinks the group “would probably want (the process) to be as transparent as possible.”

 

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]