The Ottumwa Courier

January 22, 2014

Iowa Wesleyan to close 16 academic program majors


Ottumwa Courier

---- — MOUNT PLEASANT — Iowa Wesleyan College President Steven Titus announced Wednesday the reorganization of academic programs, administrative departments and personnel.

The changes are designed to generate future growth and achieve fiscal sustainability. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify the program changes and reductions in administrative departments.

“The changes we are making at Iowa Wesleyan College will focus our academic program on areas of strength and streamline our operations to achieve growth and fiscal sustainability. The academic program restructuring is designed to be more focused in our offerings and better meet the demands of today’s students,” Titus said.

The academic program review process began nearly half a year ago with the formation of committees to review academic programs, student enrollment patterns and graduation rates. All current students will be able to continue their education and graduate within their major. Changes in the academic program will affect only those students starting in the fall of 2014 or later.

The recommendation includes the closure of 16 academic program majors. The academic programs are those with low enrollment or diminishing student demand. The few students impacted by the changes will have the opportunity to finish and graduate.

The academic program closures include the following: studio art; sociology; history; pre-law studies; philosophy of religion; communication and mass communication; forensic science; general studies/liberal studies and seven teacher education endorsement areas. In addition to changes made in the fall, the move impacts an estimated 22 faculty positions and 23 staff positions and reflects a budget savings of nearly $3 million annually.

“Although our curriculum and faculty in those programs are excellent, demand has changed. It is no longer appropriate to fund programs with little to no student interest,” Titus said. “It is difficult to make these tough decisions, but it is necessary to move forward with our plan for the future. The path of growth, promise and achievement requires sound financial stewardship.”

The reorganization will allow Iowa Wesleyan to focus its resources on academic programs that have high demand and student enrollment, which include: business administration, nursing, elementary and early childhood education, educational foundations, human services, physical education, exercise science and wellness, visual communication and design, psychology, Christian studies, pre-medical studies, biology, criminal justice, English and music.

Iowa Wesleyan College will move ahead with additional strategic growth initiatives, including the launch of new graduate courses and collaborative partnerships with two-year community colleges to provide adult transfer and degree completion opportunities. Wesleyan is also partnering with area school districts to provide dual credit courses for high school students. Other efforts include expansion of online education, upgrades to residence halls and more strategic and aggressive student recruitment campaigns.

“We have a responsibility to provide high-quality academic programming that our students truly want and need,” said Don Wiley, chair of the Iowa Wesleyan College Board of Trustees. “I am confident that these changes will help Wesleyan continue to build on its 171-year history and create the conditions for the college to grow and thrive in the years ahead.”