The Journal Gazette
 
 
Tuesday, December 03, 2019 10:04 am

Verbatim: Manchester announces plan for academic program changes

The Journal Gazette

Manchester University issued this news release today:

Manchester University is in the midst of adding, adjusting and redesigning programs, allowing it to better align its offerings with what students and employers say they want.

This process includes plans to phase out several majors with low enrollment -- public relations, economics, physics, engineering science, modern languages and secondary education mathematics.

Students already enrolled in those programs will be able to graduate with those majors and minors, and all current students will have until the end of this academic year to declare those majors or minors and finish them through Manchester.

Of Manchester’s 1,078 undergraduate students, the total enrollment in the majors being phased out is 25.

As the University looks to phase out those programs with low enrollment, it is also adding and changing other programs. A data science major will start this fall, for example, and faculty are working to redesign the Spanish, sociology and mathematics majors with added emphasis on practical applications.

“Adding new programs and strengthening existing ones helps us prepare students for good jobs or graduate school as soon as they graduate,” said Manchester President Dave McFadden. “For example, we are developing a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as a master’s degree in nutrition and nutrigenomics. This fall we launched a 3+1 Master of Accountancy, which allows a student to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years.”

The pivot toward courses with strong potential, including the health sciences, is intentional.

“We are investing in programs that have the potential to grow,” McFadden said. “That means reinventing some existing majors and ultimately phasing out others.”

In late October, Manchester announced that two faculty positions were scheduled for elimination at the end of this academic year and three will end at the close of the 2020-21 academic year.

No specific announcements were made about program changes then, in large part because Manchester has been taking a measured approach to figuring out how to best shift toward programs that prospective students want and strengthen existing programs that are doing well or have greater potential.

“Faculty identified other promising ideas during our program review this fall and we are actively exploring those possibilities together,” McFadden said in announcing the program phase-outs today to students, faculty and staff.

In coming months, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the full undergraduate faculty will make final decisions on plans announced today:

  • The public relations major will be phased out, but MU will continue to offer a public relations minor.

Note: Those who wish to become public relations or marketing professionals would also be able to do so in the future through the existing communication studies or marketing major.

  • The economics major and minor will be phased out, but classes in economics will continue.
  • The middle school and secondary education mathematics major and minor are being phased out.
  • A combined major in philosophy and religious studies is being created, and students currently majoring in one or the other will be able to graduate with that major. Religious studies can also be pursued as part of the psychology and religious practice major starting next fall. Separate minors in philosophy and religious studies will still be offered.
  • Manchester will phase out the engineering science major and the physics major and minor. Physics classes will still be offered after that major is phased out.
  • The modern languages major, as well as the French and German minors, will be phased out.

The total enrollment in minors being phased out is 15.

McFadden says the University remains focused on its mission: Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

“The liberal arts remain fundamental to who we are,” McFadden said. “Faculty are redesigning our general education liberal arts curriculum to serve our students well at this time in history. We want it to be easier for students to have more than one major, for example, and to add minors. They will still receive a solid liberal arts foundation, and the additional majors and minors will make them more employable and more versatile as they move through their careers.

“If we make wise decisions now, the future is bright,” McFadden said. “We have been evolving and changing since we started this noble endeavor in 1889. Over the years, students have changed, the economy has changed and technology has changed. We adapted to those changes and they made us stronger.”

Manchester continues to invest in physical improvements at its campuses. This fall, it dedicated the new Lockie and Augustus Chinworth Center and Arthur L. Gilbert College of Business, and work on a new athletic stadium is well under way. The Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center opened a year ago. The University has finished work on an eSports arena and will field two varsity-level teams this spring. Over the summer and into the fall, the school upgraded residence halls and food service areas. On the Fort Wayne campus, it upgraded its building to include the Master of Athletic Training program.


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