Forty MU programs back in discussion for elimination or reconfiguration

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 7:22 p.m. CST; updated 8:00 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 7, 2010

COLUMBIA — Forty MU programs thought to be safely out of reach are now back in the state-mandated program review discussion.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education put the programs back on the table after the university removed them from a list of "low-producing" degrees.


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The state wants further justification, said MU Provost Brian Foster in an e-mail to deans Tuesday.

In October, the state gave MU a list of 75 programs that failed to meet the state’s threshold for “low-producing” degrees, based on the number of graduates a program produces.

MU whittled them down to about 25 and argued that the rest did not need to be reconfigured or eliminated.

“We will NOT have the option of simply not acting on those that are ‘under consideration.’” Foster said. “I will have to have a compelling reason, with supporting data, for sustaining or realigning EACH of the 25 programs."

The state, however, is also requiring information about 40 additional programs to complete its review.

Foster has repeatedly emphasized that the process should be used as an opportunity to improve the quality of programs offered by MU. He said an immediate concern is meeting a tight deadline and told the deans he needs to respond to the state by mid-December.

Foster said that he has heard nothing from some departments regarding potential changes.

“If I do not have strong responses from each of your programs … I will have no choice but to make my response without your input,” he told the deans.

While Foster and other administrators have agreed with faculty sentiment that graduation numbers are a limited measure for productivity, he stressed in his letter that time is slipping away and decisions have to be made.

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