Here are the WVU academic programs up for elimination this week
The West Virginia University Board of Governors will vote on Friday about the future of dozens of academic programs and faculty jobs. The pending changes, which have fractured the campus, are in an effort to deal with a $45 million budget deficit
Woodburn Hall on the downtown campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Lexi Browning | West Virginia Watch)
West Virginia University’s Board of Governors will vote on Friday whether to eliminate dozens of majors and jobs as the university is trying to make up for a $45 million budget shortfall.
The vote is expected to pass.
The university emphasized this week, in “An Open Letter to the People of West Virginia,” that they are not facing a budget crisis, and WVU President E. Gordon Gee has pushed back on what he called “misrepresentations” about the university’s ongoing Academic Transformation.
“The University must prioritize resources to those areas that can provide for growth,” he said. Gee will step down in 2025.
The budget deficit was driven by declining student enrollment, the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent rate hike to the state’s insurance program, according to university leaders.
The pending vote has fractured WVU’s campus, as faculty, facing job cuts, have said the decision-making process wasn’t accurate or fully-transparent. Faculty last week passed a symbolic vote of no confidence in Gee.
University leaders already cut $7 million in staff earlier this year and merged several academic programs.
Department leaders were permitted to appeal the original recommendations for program eliminations, and the swift process resulted in some changes, including a reversal to do away with the MFA in Creative Writing.
The university is expected to lose 135 faculty positions.
The MLS Legal Studies and MPA Public Administration program would be reduced to zero faculty since both programs are up for elimination.
University leaders have said the overall cuts will affect less than 2% of students.
Faculty have argued that the pending changes will have widespread effects beyond those whose majors could be eliminated.
“The university will continue to offer more than 300 majors, maintain a low tuition that is below the national average … and provide support resources to help students graduate with degrees that are rewarding and prepare them for the world that awaits,” Gee said.
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