BGSU could cut 7 graduate programs to save money
Apr 15, 2011 (The Blade - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- BOWLING GREEN -- Seven graduate programs at Bowling Green State University would be closed in 2012 under a proposal aimed at reducing scholarships for graduate students by $9 million over the next two years.
The recommendations, which included placing six other graduate degree programs on a probationary status, were endorsed this week by Provost Kenneth Borland and presented Thursday to the university's Graduate Council. The recommendations still must be reviewed by BGSU's Committee on Academic Affairs and the Ohio Board of Regents.
Tim Messer-Kruse, interim vice provost for academics and dean of the graduate college, said students still would be admitted in the fall to the programs slated for closing and that as the last class they would be supported through to graduation.
A two-month review of graduate programs by deans of the colleges with graduate programs resulted in a recommendation to close the master of rehabilitation counseling, master of education in gifted and talented intervention, master of education in school psychology; the doctoral programs in communication studies and history, and the specialist programs in education in reading and school psychology. The programs currently have 117 students, with 11 students admitted for the fall and another 53 whose applications are pending for fall, Mr. Messer-Kruse said.
Six programs that, according to a letter from the deans to Mr. Borland, "are being encouraged to rethink how they can strategically position themselves in the future" are the master of arts in economics; master of education in reading; master of education in business education; master of arts in communication; master of science in computer science, and specialization in leisure and tourism.
Mr. Messer-Kruse said the programs are not closing, but would not be permitted to recruit new students until they "rethink their strategies and mission and vision going forward" and come up with a viable plan for doing so, he said. Currently, 105 students are enrolled in those six programs.
The changes are the result of a plan to reduce the amount of scholarships awarded to graduate students by $3 million next year and by $6 million more the following year. About two-thirds of BGSU's full-time graduate students receive full scholarships based on academic merit, which costs the university $25 million to $27 million a year, Mr. Messer-Kruse said.
While BGSU knows it will receive about $12.5 million less from the state in each of the next two years, Mr. Messer-Kruse said the changes are about more than cutting costs.
"There's been a succession of attempts at reviewing graduate programs and really trying to get a handle on the ones that are thriving and the ones that aren't," he said.
Still, Stephen Dinda, president of the Graduate Student Senate, said his organization is bewildered that graduate education has to absorb such a large percentage of state funding cuts.
"I think for sure everyone across the university should expect to take some sort of reduction," he said. "We're left to ask, 'Why?'" Mr. Dinda said the changes certainly could impact enrollment.
"I think across different programs people will choose to go to graduate school for different reasons," he said. "I'm in math and statistics and for me personally if they didn't give me an assistantship, I would go somewhere that would. Other programs might be able to attract students without a full assistantship package." Mr. Messer-Kruse conceded the cuts could scare away some prospective students, but he hopes growth in other programs will balance out the loss.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: [email protected] or 419-724-6129.
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