Cutting Academic Programs in Higher Education Name: Institution: Nature and Context of the Issue: Cutting academic programs in higher education is now a popular trend. Previously, federal stimulus funds supported most of the projects and programs within institutions of higher learning (Chapman et al, 2010)…
Therefore, professionals have an array of viable remedies such as decreasing the expenses of the institutions while promoting performance accountability, raising tuition and the most adequate one (in terms of fund management) cutting academic programs (Goldstein, 2005). Cutting academic programs focuses on fronts such as reducing the amount spent on paying faculty and other personal (Keppler, 2010). Another area is merging or total annihilation of departments (Keppler, 2010). According to Ohio Board of Regents (2010), cutting academic programs is necessary especially when one considers the performance of a given program against their financial viability. Various states have seen the effects of cutting of academic programs due to budget cuts. With the projection that Missouri by the fiscal year 2012 would suffer a budget deficiency of up to $500 million, cutting education programs was no longer an option. Given statistics on student enrollment, number of graduates and the value of related research, over 70 programs were in the line up for possible cuts (Chapman et al, 2010). The scenario was more somber in states such as Louisiana where whole colleges were at the risk of extinction. Chapman et al report that in New York and Illinois, administrations were more specific to the point of exuding some form of bias (2010). In the University of Illinois, it was the institution of aviation. The director of this institution cites unfairness given that the institution is small and remote. Meanwhile, in New York State University, the department of Language, Literature and Cultures took the hardest blow with an estimated four programs targeted for budget cuts (Chapman et al, 2010). There are a number of factors that cause states and institutions of higher learning to favor cutting of academic programs even with the public outcries. Currently, increase in cost of living makes it difficult for parents to afford hiked tuition fees hence parents may support cutting academic programs to increasing tuition fee (Goldstein, 2005). On the other hand, the institutions’ administration would rather loose a few programs than loose graduate enrollments because of insufficient funds to run the entire institution (Gold, 1995). After all, students can always move away from a cut program and limit themselves to those available. Finally, there is a great shift in educational stratification in view of changing world economics (Jung & Milton, 2007). The current employment market favors professions in fields such as business (Jung & Milton, 2007) while other programs such as history and arts take a back seat. As such, students prefer engineering and scientific courses at the expense of arts making these programs more susceptible to budget cuts (Jung & Milton, 2007). All these factors contribute to the popularity of cutting academic programs in higher education. Current and Future Prospects: The first issue that comes to mind is the redundancy of some of the academic programs not because of reduced enrollment in their respective departments but because of budget cuts (Chapman et al, 2010). For instance, in New York, foreign languages, classics and theatre are at the verge of “death” according to the article by Chapman et al (2010). It seems the state administrations current shift in budget allocation will become permanent. Most states now favor performance based funding (Harnisch, 2011). The outcome of this is that institutions ...
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