Illinois Wesleyan University cuts three majors, suggests transformation for 19 others

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois Wesleyan University will stop offering majors in Anthropology, Religion, and French as well as a minor in Italian.

The Board of Trustees met Thursday and approved the cuts in a special meeting to finalize the university’s year-long academic program review.

Georgia Nugent, president of IWU, said the decision had nothing to do with budget cuts, but suggestions on deploying the university’s resources most effectively and further education.
She said review initially started with a faculty committee and concluded their work in March before the pandemic.

“Their report actually recommended closure for nine programs at the University,” Nugent said. “The trustees actually felt those possible closures were probably cuts that were too deep, so they decided to have a further step in the process.”

Nugent said this step involved four trustees and three faculty members going over data to determine how to provide the programs that students most need and want.

In the course of this review, she said they decided to cut four programs. They also put forward suggestions for transformation for 19 other programs.

“How they believe they can be even more effective in instruction for our students,” Nugent said.
Nugent said when the decision was released Wednesday, there was a big focus on nine faculty members potentially losing their jobs due to the program cuts. She said she believes it will be less than that and that they’ll do their best to keep as many jobs as possible.

“We are committed to making every effort to see whether we can place those faculty in other positions of the university,” Nugent said. “I’m confident that can be true for a number of the faculty.”

Nugent said that the majority of the university programs would no longer offer, and incoming students will not be affected next year. She said they’ll be looking into how to continue providing instruction in these areas, even if there are no majors.

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