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UW-Green Bay considers dropping majors and minors, while enrollment is up

Posted at 6:25 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 19:25:37-05
  • UW-GB faculty, staff learned that six majors and minors combined could be discontinued. The final decision will be made February 2024.
  • The three majors under evaluation: Economics (keep minor), Environmental Policy and Planning, Theatre and Dance (keep minor)
  • The three minors under evaluation: International Environmental Studies, Geography and Physics

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Some big changes could be coming to the UW-GB campus that would affect faculty, staff and students.

Changes that could create challenges for some students after faculty and staff learned that six majors and minors combined could be discontinued.

All during a time when the university experiences another increase in enrollment.

I spoke with Provost Kate Burns Tuesday afternoon about the confusion this might bring to students.

"I would say as an institution, we continue to evolve. And we're always looking at what programs are we offering just like we added engineering and nursing to really to meet community needs," Burns said. "Students really want to be able to see their future path within the institution and, like I said, that does take a variety of forms so we have to make sure we offer a variety of courses a variety of programs. It's just finding the right mix to meet those student and community needs."

An email was sent to faculty and staff Tuesday afternoon addressing the six majors and minors could be shut down.

Provost Burns noted in the email:

"It is important to note that when a major or minor is discontinued, it does not impact our current students ... We need to regularly assess how we are aligning with our mission to serve northeastern Wisconsin and beyond."

Burns also added the following:

"There are a variety of reasons that these majors and minors are being considered, including enrollment and market demand trends, student outcomes, staffing and workload, and budgetary impact, to name a few."

Provost Burns did not go into any further detail in person about the upcoming decision on the majors and minors.

Tanisha Vandenlangenberg, vice president of student government association, shares her thoughts and what the group plans to do.

"We aren't the ones making those decisions but we can make student voices heard," Vandenlangenberg said. "So I think in meetings with the chancellor, when Riley and I meet with him, it's really important to bring student concerns to him."

Tom Seidler serves as the student workers' rights executive for student government association.

"There are so many different facets of the school that you can go to and learn different organizations," Seidler said. "If we start losing that I think some of the identity of the school be lost as well."

Vandenlangenberg and Seidler said a petition was created to stop the Theatre and Dance program from being shut down.

"There isn't anything humanity can't do and this is very small in that larger spectrum, but we can overcome these challenges," Seidler said. "Maybe we can get those majors and minors back so that students can enjoy those things."

With the possible loss in majors comes big numbers for enrollment.

The school has seen a 7.6% enrollment increase with more than 10,300 students. The university also boasts a 4.4% increase in first-generation students.

The institution now claims to be the fastest growing university in the state.

"We focus a lot on meeting students where they are," Burns said. "Where we talk a lot about is our access mission, that we're here to provide access to higher education for those in our community."

Provost Burns says that a decision for the majors could happen as soon as
Feb. 2024.