His yearlong research was initiated as a cost-saving method, potentially leading to cutting and consolidating programs throughout the UNC system. But programs are still being cut despite not being classified as unnecessary duplication.
Many of the university programs that are at risk still have high demand and produce a satisfactory number of graduates, Woodward said.
“Budget cuts have forced campuses to eliminate programs and services that by normal measures would stay in place,” he said.
Four majors at NCCU will be eliminated: sociology, public administration, French and art with a concentration in teacher education. The College of Science and Technology will also be merged with the College of Liberal Arts.
The program restructuring will result in cost savings of $500,000, but NCCU will save even more — $1.4 million — in the next year from administrative efficiencies, Nelms said.
Other UNC-system schools are considering similar measures to streamline their academic program offerings.
Nancy Young, spokeswoman for Winston-Salem State University, said the school’s decision to restructure programs depends on next year’s budget.
If the N.C. General Assembly does not pass system-wide tuition increases of 8.8 percent, program restructuring will become one of the few options left to fill the budgetary gap, she said.
Joni Worthington, spokeswoman for the UNC system, said UNC-Greensboro, N.C. StateUniversity and East Carolina University are also reviewing academic programs.
Roy Schwartzman, chairman of UNC-Greensboro’s program review committee, said universities must decide what they want to invest their resources in and make choices from there.
Program reviews could be a positive thing that increase efficiency and help with costs in the future, Schwartzman said.
“We have to be honest and do the best we can to operate better internally, so we reduce the need for tuition increases,” he said.
UNC-G’s changes to programs, which are still under review, could take place as soon as the next academic year, Schwartzman said.
Schwartzman and Young said all system schools should be reviewing academic programs.
The answer won’t always be one-size-fits-all and won’t necessarily be consolidation or cutting, Schwartzman said.
Young said some students and faculty will be upset about the restructuring of programs, but schools should make the impact as small as possible.
“At universities we have one customer and one product — our students,” she said. “We have to make sure whatever we do is in the best interests of our students.”
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