In June 2017, the Board of Trustees directed a comprehensive review of all academic and administrative budget lines with the goal of optimizing existing funding, reallocating funding in support of strategic priorities, and building long-term financial sustainability by reviewing the budget of each administrative and academic unit of the College.
The Planning, Budgeting and Assessment Committee (PBAC) has led this process, resulting in several recommendations that I then finalized and shared with faculty and staff in November 2018, as well as with students at an SGA Town Hall. Some of those recommendations included further examination of the viability of under-enrolled academic majors and minors. I then charged the Faculty Curriculum Committee to review these programs and to recommend whether they should be sustained or eliminated.
In April 2019, the Curriculum Committee recommended that all programs be retained. In consultation with Provost Ricker, and based on the data, documents and recommendations from both the PBAC and the Curriculum Committee, I revised my original recommendation and submitted my final recommendation to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.
My recommendation was that some programs be retained and that some would continue but on conditional status. For the latter, the faculty and provost will work together to increase enrollment in these programs. Such programs will then be reassessed in the 2022-23 academic year.
At their meeting on June 5, 2019, the Academic Affairs Committee reviewed all relevant data and reports and submitted a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who per our governance policy, is authorized to both establish and eliminate academic programs.
The board then voted unanimously to accept the Academic Affairs Committee’s recommendations to eliminate majors in computational science, religion, German, and Latin American studies (which has been combined with Spanish to create the Spanish and Iberian studies program), and the minors in renaissance studies, medieval studies, African studies and American studies.
The African American studies minor was also reviewed, as it had met the PBAC criteria for under-enrollment when the review began; however, enrollment has increased significantly enough since that time such that the board voted to retain this minor.
In addition, the board voted to retain on conditional status the music and philosophy majors, as well as the minors in film studies, theatre/drama and writing.
For the majors being eliminated, there are a combined total of five students currently enrolled. These students will be able to complete their degree as planned. Also, several of the courses will continue to be offered as part of the core or other academic programs. There are no students currently enrolled in the minors being eliminated.
These decisions were very difficult for all involved and for the College as a whole. However, such actions are necessary to ensure the continued vitality and financial stability of Hood. The higher education landscape is shifting dramatically, and cost concerns make it imperative that resources be allocated in the best interest of you and your education. Academic restructuring is a necessary process to keep our programs strong and relevant, thereby making you more successful.
I believe, we are moving Hood forward in a positive direction.
Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.