UT to Cut Degrees in Greek, Slavic Studies

UT will eliminate bachelor’s degrees in Greek and doctoral degrees in Slavic and Eurasian studies this year.

The programs were among 13 liberal arts degrees targeted for elimination due to low enrollment. The 11 others, which were either consolidated or given exemptions from elimination, are listed in full here.

These changes are a directive from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which requires that undergraduate degree programs produce at least 25 graduates over a five-year period. Master’s programs are required to produce 15 graduates; doctoral programs, 10. Not all of the 13 at-risk programs met those quotas.

Students currently enrolled in the Greek and Slavic programs will have until 2015 to graduate; new students can no longer enroll.

Courses and faculty are not being cut, so the changes won’t save money, says Classics professor William Nethercut. “The bottom line is it doesn’t really make any difference for us in a meaningful way,” Nethercut says. “People aren’t really upset about it because the few students who are affected by this can select another track within the Classics department. They can still take the same Greek courses.”

Mary Neuburger, chair of the Slavic and Eurasian Studies department, says she was more concerned by the process by which the cut was made than by the result. “We have been losing faculty and not making new hires, so in a practical sense I see why it needed to happen. We did feel singled out. We felt like we were not able to make a case for our program, and it’s frustrating that this decision was made by political appointees [at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board], not by academics.”

Neuburger also objects to the idea of cutting programs based on low enrollment. “The directive we’ve been given for years, and the goal within PhD programs in general, is to produce a small number of graduates—because there is a small number of academic jobs. We have always intended to be a small program.”

She says UT will be the only university among its peers to lack a doctoral program in Slavic studies, adding, “That does not look good.”

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user gadl


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