Committee report, receive philosophy information

Jason Hardimon, Staff Reporter

The Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee met Monday to discuss a tentative outline for its report as well as new information provided to the committee from the philosophy department.

The outline included sections concerning program costs and enrollment history; contributions it has made to general education and interdisciplinary functions, the program’s service functions; its graduation requirements; contribution to the university’s curriculum and a section evaluating the philosophy department’s contributions to the mission and goals of the university.

Committee Chair Richard Jones, a communication studies professor, said the committee was provided information at the beginning of the term by the administration and was recently given new information directly from the philosophy department.

The committee said it would request updated data from the administration and noted it would be sure to ask for updated profit and loss sheets as well as enrollment data.

Jones consolidated all the information that would be pertinent to the committee’s report.

The consolidated information included a degree flier, applications, a pay scale and test results among other things.

Jones said the new information would be useful in the report’s first section.

The committee is going to include the new data from the philosophy department, Jones said, but the challenge is going to be verifying and interpreting it.

However, he thinks the committee has a good start on that.

The philosophy department’s response provided to Workgroup no. 7, which looked at academic programs during the vitalization project, was not reflected in the Workgroup’s final report.

But the Academic Program Elimination Reorganization Review Committee said it would include the most current information in its report to be sure the Board of Trustees is presented with an accurate evaluation of the philosophy department.

“I think the numbers are pretty similar. I think it’s how you look at it – each audience looks at them differently,” Jones said. “Here is an example for profit and loss: If you look at profit and loss and you only count majors, it could look like a department is losing money. But if you run the same numbers and include everyone who has taken a philosophy class, which includes (general education courses), undeclared, etc… then, the department makes money.”

Jones said the committee plans to evaluate the data from many different angles and find out which angles are most representative of the big picture.

Jones said of the general advocacy documents the committee had already examined, a document from the American Philosophical Association would be most useful in defining how the department fulfills the mission and goals of the university.

The committee said it would add an additional section to its final report concerning the potential the philosophy department has for growth.

“To look at potential for growth is not part of our committee’s charge,” Jones said. “But we plan to, as the philosophy department has proposed to revise the major (to) make it more integrated or attractive to students.“

The administration has said the vitalization project is not about saving money, Jones said.

“So, since all of this started as a result of vitalization, I think we’re (also) just taking that approach,” Jones said.

The committee acknowledged it must be sure to remain objective, acknowledging any potential benefits of reorganization or elimination as well any negative effects.

The committee also said it would need a clarification concerning the philosophy department’s service functions and that it planned to investigate which departments or programs would have to change their graduation requirements if philosophy was eliminated. This investigation would include looking at which departments require philosophy courses for gradation, and how the elimination or reorganization of philosophy could the affect choice of electives.

The committee ended its meeting by dividing up responsibilities as it moves forward with its research.

The Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee’s final recommendations are due to the administration March 15.


Jason Hardimon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].