Queen sacrifices announced across fourteen North Carolina campuses

University of North Carolina system logoFourteen campuses in the University of North Carolina system will cut academic programs, according to the Daily Tarheel.  The system’s board of governors voted this past Friday to cut 46 programs in what looks like one of the biggest queen sacrifices I’ve tracked so far.

The board decided to cut individual programs based on their “program productivity”, in other words “the number of degrees granted in programs annually.”  The official assessment, which was published for a vote, seems to be here. As one member, Steven Long, put it: “We’re capitalists, and we have to look at what the demand is, and we have to respond to the demand.”

This rationale for cutting is a quantitative one, in other words.  Its implementation elicited qualitative defenses, like this one:

Warwick Arden, the provost of N.C. State University, which will see four programs eliminated, said some programs that don’t give out a large quantity of degrees are still valuable, including the women and gender studies and Africana studies programs at the school, both of which will be eliminated and consolidated into less specific programs.

Which programs?  Here’s a list*, which I’ve extracted from each affected campus according to the Tar Heel report:

Africana Studies
Art Education
Biochemistry
Biology, Secondary Education (BA)
Biology, Secondary Education (BS)
Biotechnology (two different campuses)
Business and Marketing Education
Child and Family Development
Composition
Comprehensive Science Education
Economics, Secondary Education
Elementary Education
English Education
English, Secondary Education
Family and Consumer Sciences, Secondary Education
Film Music Composition (EDITED TO ADD: not cut, according to this commentator)
French
French K-12
German
German K-12
Health Information Administration
Hispanic Studies Education
Human Biology
Jazz
Latin Education
Mathematics Education (two different campuses)
Mathematics, Secondary Education (BA)
Mathematics, Secondary Education (BS)
Middle Grades Education
Music Education
Music Performance
Physical Education
Physical Education and Health
Physiology
Political Science
Public History
Special Education, Adapted Curriculum
Special Education, General Curriculum
Special Education, Intellectual Disabilities
Teaching English as a Second Language and Linguistics
Technology Education
Theatre
Vocational Education
Women’s and Gender Studies

As with the queen sacrifice pattern to date, this is heavy on the humanities, which could be the result of those disciplines losing student interest, or instead be the result of a political defeat suffered by those programs.

These cuts also hit education very hard, which I can’t explain.  As far as I can tell North Carolina is growing the number of kids aged 1-18, although the numbers of adults and seniors are increasing more rapidly.  Here are growth rates from 2000 to 2010:

0 to 4: 17.15
5 to 17: 15.0%
18 to 64: 17.66%
65 on up: 27.35%      (source)

Projecting ahead, North Carolina looks to skew increasingly gray, like most of the US:

North Carolina population projection, 2013‐2033

(source)

So did the UNC-BoG decide to cut back on programs supporting K-12 education, from French to Special Education, in anticipation of having to shift resources elsewhere?  That seems plausible, if harsh.

I have no information about staff and faculty cuts at this time.  In fact, the Tar Heel article mentions individual campus leaders protesting, which might – maybe – suggest room for each campus to negotiate.

In fact, I’m not seeing a lot of discussion about this move on the Web, beyond some social media notes and posts on a few left-liberal sites.  I’d love to get more information and perspective.  Anybody?

(many thanks to Precarious Faculty, Linda Burns, and Steven Burnett)

*This is how the cuts hit each campus:

Appalachian State University: Family and Consumer Sciences, Secondary Education; Technology Education; Mathematics, Education

Elizabeth City State University: Special Education, General Curriculum; Middle Grades Education; English, Secondary Education; Political Science

East Carolina University: French K-12; German K-12; Hispanic Studies Education; German; French; Public History; Special Education, Intellectual Disabilities; Vocational Education

Fayetteville State University: Art Education; Music Education; Biotechnology

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University: Comprehensive Science Education; Physical Education

North Carolina Central University: Theatre; Jazz

North Carolina State University: Africana Studies; Women’s and Gender Studies; Business and Marketing Education; Physiology

UNC-Charlotte: Child and Family Development; Special Education, Adapted Curriculum; English Education; Mathematics Education

UNC-Chapel Hill: Human Biology

UNC-Greensboro: Mathematics, Secondary Education (BA); Mathematics, Secondary Education (BS); Economics, Secondary Education; Biology, Secondary Education (BA); Biology, Secondary Education (BS); Composition; Latin Education; Biochemistry

UNC School of the Arts: Film Music Composition

UNC-Wilmington: Physical Education and Health; Music Performance

Western Carolina University: Health Information Administration

Winston-Salem State University: Biotechnology; Elementary Education; Teaching English as a Second Language and Linguistics

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7 Responses to Queen sacrifices announced across fourteen North Carolina campuses

  1. ErinLibrarian09 says:

    I am really surprised at the education cuts. I didn’t realize I had clicked on two similar stories in my twitter feed: yours and this blog post: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2015/05/26/raise-the-bar-paying-more-for-less-in-higher-education/ Same site you linked to, but a different post. Who is going to teach the teachers? A bunch of corporate entrepreneurs that they fund for themselves? Its a little scary.

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  2. There’s an element of self-fulfilling prophecy at work here as well: North Carolina has made life so miserable for those teaching in the state’s public schools (consistently ranked in the bottom five in the country in teacher for teacher pay, teacher satisfaction, etc.) that even their students realize they are miserable, so fewer and fewer students choose to be education majors when they go to college. Then the same right-wing types whose cuts to education funding created the problem turn around and cut low-enrollment education programs at the colleges.

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    • Ah. That sounds like what I was looking for.
      What’s the strategy, to starve teacher compensation so as to keep overall costs down?

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      • Honestly, I don’t so much see a specific strategy as a comprehensive agenda: In the minds of those in charge here (from Koch ally Art Pope to our corporate crony governor down to the Republican movers and shakers in the state legislature), the only purpose of public education is to create drones to work for the privately educated elite. There are so many strategies and tactics involved that it’s difficult to even track them unless one devotes a great deal of time to it.

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  3. The Film Music Composition Program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts was not actually cut. It was absorbed into our new MFA in Film. The move by the Board of Governors was to eliminate the numerical designation for the music composition program, to avoid duplication. http://www.uncsa.edu/pressreleases/Releases2015/April%202015/MFAfilm.htm

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