University discontinues music, earth sciences, legal studies, among others

Category:  News
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 5:32 PM
University discontinues music, earth sciences, legal studies, among others by Dakota Palmer
Graphic: Shelby Kirk

On Oct. 27, 253 Edinboro University students received letters from the deans of their respective colleges informing them their programs would no longer be accepting incoming students. The email stated the university will continue to offer courses required for each current student to complete their programs and mailed plans of study to students, laying out the rest of their academic career schedules.

According to Angela Burrows, university assistant vice president for marketing and communications, many of the students who received emails are enrolled in programs that are transitioning to “new, related programs.” 

“For example, our Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations (public relations concentration) are transitioning to a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication,” she wrote in an email to The Spectator. “Content of the former programs will be maintained within the new, more structured set of offerings. The university will also offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Production, according to Dr. Tim Thompson, chairperson of the Communication, Journalism and Media Department.

Burrows noted the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs will be retained with “more tightly structured degree requirements.” The Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Legal Studies will be replaced by “an interdisciplinary pre-law minor that will afford students greater flexibility in choosing any appropriate major for their careers in law.” 

Dr. James Fisher, professor within the History, Politics, Languages and Cultures Department, added: “While prospective and current students were quite happy with the features of the legal studies concentration, I think that the pre-law minor achieves all the same learning objectives for students, and benefits pre-law students of any major, not just political science students.”

He continued: “It provides similar benefits in terms of enhancing student eligibility for law school and serving as a tool to successfully recruit students to Edinboro. Edinboro is a great place for students of any major who want to attend law school, and that does not change at all with the transition from the legal studies concentration to the pre-law minor.” 

The programs in music and music education will not be accepting new students due to low enrollment, but “music classes will remain a part of our curriculum,” Burrows said. She added the bagpipe ensemble, marching band and vocal ensemble will continue, “so music will have an important presence on campus and be available for all students.” Music courses will not be required, but will still be offered to students. 

“No music faculty have been cut, [but] the programs are on moratorium,” said Dr. Tony Peyronel, interim chairperson of the Music and Theatre Department and professor in the Communication, Journalism and Media Department. Peyronel emphasized all current students will be able to finish their programs.

Burrows said a combination of factors led to the decision of the programs being eliminated or transitioned, including enrollment in the affected programs, demand for graduates outside the university environment and student retention and program completions. Burrows noted the Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences and Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry will both be discontinued, adding students in the earth sciences program will be directed to the Bachelor of Science in Geology and students in the chemistry program will be directed to the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. 

“While some programs will no longer be available to new students, any student currently enrolled in a program will have an opportunity to continue in that program and complete his or her coursework,” Burrows said. “Students affected by these changes have been encouraged to work with their academic advisors to create a plan for degree completion and the university is committed to assisting all students to complete their degree programs.” 

Burrows said that in addition to multiple programs transitioning, the university plans to offer a number of new programs, which will be rolled out in Fall 2018 and Fall 2019. As of right now, the university is unable to announce the programs until they are approved by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors. 

According to Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Michael Hannan, many of the transitioning programs are considered reorganizations by the Office of the Chancellor and are able to be changed within a few months, upon approval. 

“New degrees that don’t currently exist at the university require approval by the Board of Governors and can take several months, given the need for view by the Office of the Chancellor and the quarterly nature of the Board of Governors schedule,” Hannan said. 

Burrows said the university will have at least one new program submitted for board approval as early as January. 

Dakota Palmer can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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