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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Schafer

Proposal to Eliminate Several UAFS Programs Prompts Outcry

Thursday, February 15, UAFS Chancellor, Dr. Terisa Riley, announced via email a proposal to eliminate five degree programs, including both bachelor and associate programs as well as several certifications, following a review conducted in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) Coordinating Board.

The list of proposed cuts include:

Computer-Aided Design

General Technology Automotive Concentration

Political Science (minor to remain)

Spanish (minor and certificate of proficiency to remain)

Theatre (minor to remain)

Chancellor Riley clarified in the email that current students in these programs will be allowed to finish their degrees as part of their continuity plan.

The announcement sparked a quick response from students, particularly in the theatre program. UAFS theatre students have started to rally under the hashtag, #SaveUAFSTheater. Many have expressed concerns for the future of the program.

“This program is close-knit and full of unimaginable talent,” said Gavin Wayne, UAFS theatre student, in a Facebook post. “The work we have done in the last four years will soon be diminished by the elimination of our department.”

In an attempt to understand the decision-making process, The Lions’ Chronicle reached out to Chair of the History, Social Sciences, and Philosophy department (HSSP), Dr. Dan Maher. According to Dr. Maher, the elimination of the political science BA was not unexpected.

“This decision is not necessarily a two million dollar [saving] decision, it’s more like, y’know, the writing has been on the wall for a while and the graduates just aren’t there,” Maher stated.

Data shared with The Lions’ Chronicle confirms Political Science as the least popular major in the HSSP department, dropping from a peak of 31 declared majors in 2018 to an eight year low of 16 in Spring 2023. However, that number rose this semester to 18.

According to Riley’s email, the proposal will be brought to the Board of Trustees “in the coming weeks”. If approved, no new students will be enrolled into these programs.

To support the preservation of these programs, students in the Department of Music and Theatre have organized a march across campus scheduled for February 21 at 12:30PM.


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