Motion to cut 101 academic programs at WKU passes, moves forward to full board vote

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Western Kentucky University's Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation (CAPE) Committee completed a review of all 380 of WKU’s academic programs.​

As a result, they suggested maintaining 55% of programs, transforming 14.47%, growing/enhancing 3.95% and suspending 28.67% of programs.

The committee says their recommendation stems from the idea to consolidate programs, generate revenue and 're-energize' curriculum.

During the Board of Regents meeting Friday morning, the CAPE Committee presented its findings and recommendations to the Academic Affairs Committee.

"Of the 101 recommendations of the committee, what this points out is I think, is that the hard work was done not just by the committee, but also the hard work was done by the program faculty and department heads and by the college level committees and the Deans," said Dr. Merrall Price, special assistant to the provost.

While one board member voted to amend the motion, ultimately, the board passed a motion to move forward with the recommendation.

"Today was not a vote on a single process, it was a moving forward in what would be a continuous work to re-energize, re-innovate, and grow this university," said President Timothy Caboni.

Cutting the 101 programs means 279 would remain at WKU, which the committee says after comparing itself to similar universities, is primarily the standard number.

"I don't think we are limiting options for students here, hopefully we are creating some new options," said Dr. Price.

That largest program to possibly be suspended is 'Nursing RN to BSN' which has over 100 students enrolled as of 2017.

"That is primarily being suspended to make room for other programs within the nursing program, not because it's not a popular program," said Dr. Price.

If this comes to fruition, the university will admit students to those transformed programs by Fall 2020. They will not accept any students into the suspended programs as of August 26 of this year. However, those currently enrolled in those cut programs will properly be able to finish them out.

"We are not just committed because of our accrediting agency, and because of the state to teach outs, but because it's also the ethical thing to do," said Dr. Price.

The cuts would only impact 3% of WKU students. After the motion was approved, President Caboni went on to say that these intensive reviews are critical in the higher education system.

"We have to turn that same critical eye on the work we do every day. We have to take a look at our program offerings ​very month, every year," said President Caboni. ​

The full board will vote on whether or not to approve these recommendations in the May meeting.



 
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