• September 11, 2014

Washington State U. Proposes Slashing Its Course Offerings

Washington State University has proposed a universitywide audit of all courses and degree programs with the goal of cutting its course offerings by 20 percent, reducing the number of majors and minors, and concentrating university resources on areas of academic strength.

An 18-page report by the provost, issued last week, calls for an overhaul of the university’s general education programs, a moratorium on new courses, and a retraining of faculty members to focus on top-priority areas.

According to a news release, the university offers 6,700 courses, but many are rarely taught and have small enrollments. The university hopes that eliminating some of those offerings will let faculty members devote more energy to core areas of the curriculum.

The report also recommends restructuring several schools and departments to bring together faculty members in related areas and to eliminate underenrolled programs. It proposes cutting the bachelor’s degree in forestry and consolidating the programs in earth and environmental science, natural-resource sciences, and community and rural sociology into a single unit focusing on environmental sustainability. It also proposes dividing the College of Liberal Arts into three divisions: social and behavioral sciences; arts, culture, and humanities; and interdisciplinary and area studies.

“In some areas, structures have been created that no longer make sense in an era where both research and teaching are increasingly interdisciplinary,” said Provost Robert Bates, in a written statement. “This report provides an excellent opportunity for the university to realign academic programs in a way that best serves our research and teaching missions.” —Paula Wasley

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