Another campus sacrifices the queen: IPFW to cut programs, majors, departments

ipfw_logoBack on the queen sacrifice beat, I find another American campus intending to cut academic programs and perhaps faculty.  This time it’s Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, much more commonly referred to as IPFW.

After a recommendation process earlier this year and a state recommendation that IPFW be divided among two other local universities, campus administrators this week announced the upcoming closure of a series of majors.  Queen sacrifice readers will not be surprised to learn their identities, which include the humanities and teacher training:

Geology (BA & BS)
German Philosophy
Women’s Studies
Biology Pre-Dentistry
Chemistry Pre-Dentistry
Chemistry Pre-Medicine
Math Computing
Math Business
Math Statistics
Legal Studies
Biology Teaching
Chemistry Teaching
French Teaching
German Teaching
Spanish Teaching
Physics Teaching

In addition, some departments will be axed or fused over the next two years:

Departments or programs eliminated January 1, 2017
Women’s Studies
Departments merged July 1, 2017
Departments merged July 1, 2018
VPA and Fine Art

Why so many teacher training programs?  Is Indiana’s K-12 population shrinking, or is IPFW being outcompeted by other campuses?

Melissa Rasmussen reminds us that more cuts are likely to be announced:

Why is IPFW attempting a queen sacrifice now?  My readers will be utterly unsurprised to learn that steeply declining enrollment and tuition income are at work:

enrollment for the fall semester is down 30 percent from the university’s record-high enrollment in 2011. In the spring of that year, one of the last in the “Great Recession” where college enrollment soared across the country, IPFW students took 133,560 credit hours. Last spring, that number was down to 97,353 credit hours, a 25.7 percent decline.As enrollment has dropped, so has revenue. In 2011, IPFW banked $80.5 million in revenue. Last year, that number had dropped 15 percent to $68.2 million… the number of incoming freshman continues to drop with every passing year.

According to another news source, “[i]n the last three years, enrollment has declined 9 percent to 12,010, with more students graduating than enrolling.”

What does this mean for faculty teaching in these impacted programs?  It’s a bit unclear:

In his address to the IPFW Faculty Senate on Monday, [Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Carl] Drummond said tenured faculty in the eliminated programs must now find a new tenure home within another department.

I’m not sure if that means the central administration is leaving it up to individual departments to make new lines, or if this is being orchestrated with support.  Another report is marginally more optimistic:

Tenured members of the faculty within the programs affected can expect to be moved to be reassigned to a different academic home at the university. While no one has officially been laid off, limited-term lecturers at the university have been cut by 10 percent and the future of continuing lecturers is unknown.

An early-retirement package has been offered to select faculty, with some already taking advantage of the financial incentive to depart the university.

Some commentators and involved parties have drawn attention to the relative financial well-being of IPFW’s athletics program.  An opposite website offers this infographic:

IPFW on sports vs accademics

To sum up, we have yet another case of an American university facing declining enrollment and (therefore) dropping revenue, responding by cutting programs deemed to be less financially rewarding or otherwise cut-able.  Once again the humanities bear the brunt.

Does anyone from IPFW have anything to add?

(thanks to DamiEN, Stephen Landry, Melissa Rasmussen on Twitter)

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2 Responses to Another campus sacrifices the queen: IPFW to cut programs, majors, departments

  1. Not from IPFW, but I think I can comment on teacher training programs. At my university (large public university in Michigan) pre-service mathematics teacher enrollments have been dropping precipitously for the last few years. It would seem that far fewer young people than in the past want to be teachers. This is also coupled with a decline in the overall population of new college students, something that began in 2008 when the financial crash caused a flight from the state that is still ongoing.

    What I am surprised the most about with IPFW are the three mathematics programs that are being cut, especially the Math – Statistics and Math – Business. Those are STEM disciplines and applied ones at that.

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