MU dropping 16 degree offerings

COLUMBIA (AP) — University of Missouri officials said they have lopped off 16 degree options following a state-mandated review of academic programs with low numbers of graduates.

Most of the dropped programs have been merged with other programs, Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton said in a letter last week to Higher Education Commissioner David Russell, although a few have been cut altogether.

In October, the state ordered all public universities to review programs that award an average of fewer than 10 bachelor’s, five master’s and three doctoral programs a year.

The state’s Coordinating Board of Higher Education will review the proposal in February.

Deputy Provost Ken Dean said it could take years to change some of the degree programs because the university doesn’t want to implement anything that would have a negative impact on current or enrolled students.

“Some of these degrees are not going to go away for a while because there are people in the pipeline,” Dean said.

Although the latest moves were the result of a state mandate, he said the school is constantly reviewing its academic offerings. He said the university has eliminated as many degrees as it has created over the past decade.

Deaton, in his letter to Russell, noted that the university produces 25 percent of all bachelor and master’s degrees granted by public four year-institutions in the state, and more than 60 percent of all PhDs.

“We have always taken seriously the responsibility to continually review our degree offerings, seeking to respond to student and market demands, as well as to meet the needs of the state and the nation.”

Missouri’s proposal includes:

• Combining bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish and French to create new Romance languages bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Spanish was not a low-producing program, but the department agreed to take in the French program.

• Merging three master’s programs within the College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources into one catch-all degree.

• Combining two doctoral programs — forestry and soil, environmental and atmospheric science — into one PhD.

• Combining pharmacology and physiology medicine master’s and doctoral programs into one degree in the School of Medicine.

• Merging exercise physiology and nutritional area master’s programs into one degree in the School of Human Environmental Sciences.

The university’s proposal also recommends dropping education specialist and doctoral degrees in career and technical education, and a specialist degree in special education.

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