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Colleges, programs subject to Academic Planning Process notified today


University of Nevada, Reno colleges and departments that will be considered for possible closure, reorganization or reduction through an Academic Planning Process were notified today. The process, which was shared with Faculty Senate in January and announced at a University Town Hall Feb. 9, will be initiated immediately and will provide for a period of further review and input.

To meet a 6.9 percent reduction in the University’s state-funded budget, an additional $11 million in cuts must be identified. The University budget has already been cut by 15.5 percent or $33 million, bringing the total annual reduction to $44 million.

The proposal recommends the closure of one college, with many of that college’s programs continuing in a reorganized fashion, and the elimination of a number of degree programs.

“We are committed to maintaining a quality University that meets its core missions through a vibrant research program and quality degree programs,” said Marc Johnson, University provost. “Reviewing academic programs in a vertical and strategic manner allows us to preserve our strongest programs and not diminish the overall quality of what this University offers.”

The timeline calls for decisions, which are subject to approval by the Nevada Board of Regents, to be made by June 30, 2010. Changes would go into effect June 30, 2011. University officials estimate the final decisions will result in a loss of 75 filled positions. The University will make additional reductions in other areas not subject to the Academic Planning Process.

After careful consideration, the Provost’s Office has made its proposals for review. Provost Johnson spent today notifying the colleges and departments, and provided each with a “curricular review” explaining the proposed changes. Curricular review is prescribed in the Nevada System of Higher Education code. The primary criteria for Johnson’s curricular review included the number of degrees granted, enrollment in the major, student full-time-equivalent production, scholarship productivity, external scholarship grant award and expenditure performance, relation to fulfillment of other programs, centrality to mission, and national and international uniqueness.

Notable among today’s notifications is the proposed closure of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR). While two departments within the college would be reviewed for closure, the college’s other programs and research initiatives would be reorganized and continue, including research and outreach through the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station.

“Most of the significant contributions of CABNR would be retained, including contributions to the agricultural industries and renewable energy development, and preparation of pre-medicine and pre-veterinary medicine students, dieticians and nutritionists. Research and education in the basic biochemical and environmental sciences would continue as well,” said Johnson.

Under the proposal, the College of Education would consolidate into a single unit without department boundaries. Several master’s and doctorate-level degrees would potentially be affected.

“We will redouble our commitment to preparing teachers and principals who are skilled and ready for direct placement in preschool and K through 12 settings,” said Johnson. “Teaching professionals prepared at the University of Nevada, Reno will have deep knowledge in pedagogy and subject content. This focused attention will serve as a catalyst for strong relationships with our colleagues in schools statewide.”

The following degrees would be reviewed for potential closure:

  • Bachelor’s degrees in animal science and animal biotechnology, the minor in animal science and the master’s in animal science,
  • Bachelor’s degrees in agricultural and applied economics, the minor in agribusiness, the bachelor’s degree in environmental and resource economics, the minor in natural resource and environmental economics, and the master’s and doctorate in resource economics,
  • Master’s degrees in all education counseling fields, education specialist, and teaching English to students of other languages in the College of Education, as well as all doctorate-level degrees in the College of Education,
  • Minor, major and master’s degree programs in German studies, French and Italian through the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
  • Bachelor’s degree in interior design,
  • Doctorate degrees in anthropology, history and political science, master’s degree in philosophy and master’s degree in speech communication,
  • Bachelor’s degree in supply chain management,
  • Bachelor’s degree in statistics and a master’s degree offering with a statistics concentration.

For degree programs that are discontinued, the timeline will allow many students to complete the program prior to closure, while others will be advised to transition to a different, appropriately related degree. As an example, for students on a pre-veterinary medicine path, continued degree options would include biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. All students with declared majors in programs subject to curricular review will be individually contacted for contingency advisement.

“Even though we will be a narrower University, we stand by our commitment to ensure students stay on path toward a quality degree and achieving their career goals,” said Johnson.

“We extend our appreciation to Nevada’s elected officials who did their best to minimize the damage,” said University President Milt Glick. “However, the proposals announced today have the potential to change the landscape and trajectory of the University.”

“A strong higher education system can be the cornerstone by which Nevada comes out of this current economic crisis and diversifies and improves its economy,” said Glick. “The budget cuts certainly challenge our ability to provide a quality education, but we are committed to coming through these cuts with a more narrow and yet academically strong University of Nevada, Reno with the continuing support of our faculty, staff and students. We look forward to working with state leaders to build a stronger, brighter future.”

Additional information is available at www.unr.edu/provost/.

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