UPDATE (9:28 p.m.)– Students and professors are weighing on the recent announcements from the university. John Nielsen, an associate professor of history and the vice president for the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), said the 30-day response time for department chairs comes at a rough time in the school year.
“It’s the end of the semester, we’ve got Thanksgiving in there, we’ve got finals in there, we’ve got final grades to be turned in, it’s not a good time of year to suddenly heap that on entire departments,” he said.
As for Bradley senior Freddie Janowski, who studies computer information systems, he believes the university is doing the best it can.
“They said that only three and a half percent of all Bradley students were going to be affected. I think that if they were to do something like this to save money when, if other private universities are any indication, I think this would be maybe the best way they could go about doing something like that,” Janowski said.
Nielsen, however, takes issue with Bradley saying that only 3.5 percent of students will be affected.
“Just because your major isn’t eliminated doesn’t mean that classes that meet your Bradley core requirements aren’t eliminated, classes that could really have an impact on you as a student are eliminated,” Nielsen said.
Bradley president Stephen Standifird said it’s unfortunate that the university is in its current situation, but the way it’s being handled is the best way forward for the university.
“At the core of everything we’re doing today and moving forward is what’s best for Bradley and what’s best for Bradley students. So, while these adjustments are very painful as we go through it, I feel confident this is the way we best serve the students of today and tomorrow,” he said.
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Bradley University is considering discontinuing 17 academic degree programs and converting five others into “service units” that will serve only to satisfy degree requirements in other majors.
Dozens of faculty positions are also on the line.
According to an emailed letter that University President Stephen Standifird sent to faculty on Monday, the proposed changes would directly affect 3.5 percent of students already enrolled.
The proposal is the result of a data-driven review by the Senate-elected faculty review committee, the provost, and the deans.
“Their assessment is a critical step to ensure our programs remain relevant, rigorous, and aligned with our university’s mission and goals while we strive to remain financially sound,” wrote Standifird in the letter.
The programs include:
- Actuarial Science (Mathematics)
- Apparel Production and Merchandising
- Business Law
- Family Consumer Science Education
- Family Life Science
- Hospitality Leadership
- International Studies
- Manufacturing Technology
- Math Education
- Pre-K – 12 Administration and Leadership
- Professional Sales
- Public Health Education
- Religious Studies
The programs that are being considered for discontinuation, but may remain as a service unit are:
In the letter, Standifird said 75 percent of the students are enrolled in only a quarter of the programs Bradley offers.
“Regrettably, continuing down this path is simply not viable,” Standifird wrote.
Possible faculty reductions are expected during this transition. This could include 47 currently occupied positions and 21 positions through attrition.
The college said it would be informing anyone directly affected by cuts within the next two days.
Department chairs for the affected degree programs have 30 days to respond to the president, who says he will make his final decision before the end of the fall semester.
Bradley Professor of Mechanical Engineering and President of the American Association of Professors, Ahmad Fakheri, Ph.D, released a statement after the cuts were announced.
“The university faculty committee, in accordance with how such decisions are to be made as delineated in the Faculty Handbook, and after working diligently provided a report to the University,” Fakheri said. “The report produced real cuts, and recommended elimination of many wasteful spendings. The thoughtful recommendations of committee would preserve the historic nature of the University while putting it on much stronger foundations. The President appears to have ignored all of that and instead focused primarily on cutting the academic programs, the sole reason students attend Bradley. The urgency and the rationale for the cuts is unclear, and does not appear to be out of any immediate financial or other necessities. These drastic cuts in Academic Affairs are also being made in the absence of a shared vision for the future of the University, pushing university into uncharted territories. Even programs with substantial number of students are being eliminated. These cuts are deep and change Bradley’s core, as a small comprehensive University. A university without opportunities to study math, physics, economics, philosophy … is not a comprehensive one, where students come to have the prospects of exploring their talents and interests.”
The last day of semester classes is Dec. 5 and final grades for winter commencement are due 10 a.m. on Dec. 16.