Queen sacrifice in Delaware?

Delaware State University sealAnother week, another queen sacrifice: Delaware State University is cutting two dozen majors.  The historically black institution, facing problematic state funding, is ending what its leadership has deemed to be the least popular programs.

After a two-year process including the use of Robert Dickeson’s academic prioritization method, campus leaders determined the new mix of programs.  These majors and areas of graduate study will become minors or disappear, according to an internal document:

Baccalaureate –
Art Management; English Education; French; Spanish, World Language Education; Elementary Special Education – Grades 1-8; Secondary Special Education – Grades 7-12, Biology Education, Chemistry Education, Forensic Chemistry, Physics Education, and

Graduate –
Family and Consumer Science,Art Education, Historic Preservation, Adult Basic Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, Science Education, Educational Leadership – M. Ed., Master of Art in Teaching, Applied Chemistry, Mathematics Education, and Physics Teaching

That’s 24 out of 82 programs.  Moreover, “[t]he cuts will result in 76 fewer courses”.

In contrast, resources saved will flow towards growing these programs:

Baccalaureate – Agriculture, Natural Resources, Food and Nutritional Sciences, Criminal Justice; Mass Communication; Psychology; Teaching English as a Second Language, Aviation, Sport Management, Health Promotion, Movement Science, Nursing, Applied Chemistry, Biology, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience; and Graduate – Natural Resources, Master of Business Administration, Educational Leadership- Ed.D, and Neuroscience.

Additionally, “DSU has also begun enforcing a minimum of 10 students per class. The university had the requirement for years… but faculty members continued to teach classes with only one or two students enrolled.”

Delaware State’s move doesn’t map precisely onto the typical queen sacrifice model (so far).  For one, there is no plan to remove faculty, according to Delaware Online. “[T]he program cuts… won’t result in layoffs or reductions in staff hours, senior administrators said…faculty members will be reassigned to related areas.”  I’m not sure how the university can cut classes and majors, not reduce faculty members, and still “save DSU about $900,000 by 2020”, unless they’re not rehiring adjuncts, which neither the article nor the linked internal document mentions.

For another, the humanities versus STEM divide isn’t as clear as it is elsewhere.   Yes, STEM and professional programs reap the rewards, while some humanities face the ax. But education classes are leading targets for cuts.

Beyond academics, the plan includes more cuts and reductions:

Another roughly $5 million in savings is expected to come from administrative streamlining. The university has a hiring freeze in effect and has no plans to fill positions in the short-term as employees retire. DSU will net additional cost savings by reducing contract employment and technology costs.

$5 million is some serious streamlining.  Will it include job cuts, or somehow avoid them as well?

Perhaps this isn’t a full queen sacrifice, but a mild version, one just hitting academic programs without riffing faculty members (at least t-track ones).  If that’s the case, then we’re seeing one example of curricular reshuffling, where the humanities and education are losing ground.

On the other hand, what happens to those tenured/tenure track faculty?

(thanks to Eric Behrens, Malcolm Brown, and John O’Brien)

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5 Responses to Queen sacrifice in Delaware?

  1. I suspect your supposition that the school is saving money by hiring fewer adjuncts is accurate. At my institution we also started enforcing a 10 student minimum (rule on the books but never enforced). If cancelled classes were taught by adjuncts, then they taught fewer courses (and got paid less). If cancelled classes were taught by full time faculty, then that faculty member was assigned to another course and the adjunct teaching that course had a smaller load and, again, lower pay.

  2. We had some similar looking program cuts in education in NC last year. Wondering who is going to teach the high school science students that will feed those growing STEM majors in higher ed…

  3. Danielle says:

    Man, that’s kind of messed up…money over education I guess?

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