AZ City or ZIP
4:17 pm | 99°
September 11, 2014 |
  • Type Size: A A A
  • PrintPrint
  • EmailEmail
  • Most PopularMost Popular

ASU to cut programs, limit new students

Poly, West campuses face major downsizing

Arizona State University President Michael Crow on Tuesday announced sweeping cuts that will cap enrollment, shut down four dozen academic programs, scale back operations at its Polytechnic and West campuses, and close applications to next year's freshman class five months earlier than planned.

In addition, the university may seek a tuition increase for next fall - on top of an increase approved in December - in response to reductions in state funding.

And that's just for 2009. Crow said that for 2010, it's possible that the Polytechnic and West campuses could be closed entirely.

Crow was alternately angry, resigned, defiant and hopeful as he spoke of how "we've worked with administrators, professors, staff and students to find ways to make these cuts."

He said that with 550 positions already eliminated and about 200 faculty-associate contracts not being renewed, "probably several hundred" more employees will lose their jobs as a result of the cuts he announced Tuesday.

As the news of the cuts and changes spread to the four ASU campuses, the gravity of the move sank in.

Paul Patterson, dean of the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness at the Polytechnic campus in east Mesa, said, "In my school, they've chosen to disestablish two programs, including the professional golf-management program.

"This will obviously be of great concern to those students. Those who are enrolled will be able to complete the program, but we're discouraging any freshman enrollment."

Polytechnic Vice President Keith Hjelmstad said that when the public hears of the cuts, "they need to know that ASU is suffering."

"Budgets are difficult to manage," Hjelmstad added, "and we're doing our best to make this go, but you're seeing some institutional pain."

ASU West, still reeling from the loss of prestigious programs last year, now will function essentially as a liberal-arts college, said Terri Shafer, an ASU spokeswoman. She said its name will be changed to reflect the single remaining college on campus: the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

A major blow to the West campus is the loss of the W.P. Carey School of Business' MBA program. The Carey School had been scheduled to replace the School of Global Management, which is being phased out.

Jack Lunsford, president and chief executive of Westmarc, a West Valley business coalition that has made education one of its advocacy missions, said the reduction and possible loss of the West campus will hurt efforts to attract new, innovative businesses.

"These types of things don't bode well for the economic viability of the West Valley," Lunsford said. "We know we're going to need people with business and health-care and engineering backgrounds. All that education that the West Valley campus could provide is going to become even more important."

The changes on the campuses include:

��Tempe campus:
The engineering school will reduce the number of departments from 10 to six; the clinical-laboratory-sciences program will be closed; the W.P. Carey School's sports-business-specialization MBA will not be offered after the 2009-10 academic year; and more than 30 other graduate-degree programs will be eliminated.

��Polytechnic campus:
The School of Applied Arts and Sciences will be "disestablished"; the School of Management and Agribusiness will merge with the Carey School; the fire-services-management program will be closed; and the nursing program will move to the downtown Phoenix campus. The College of Technology and Innovation will become the sole remaining college.

��West campus (which will be renamed New College): No graduate-degree programs will be offered; the nursing program, College of Teacher Education and Leadership and School of Social Work move to the downtown Phoenix campus.

Notable among the changes is an effort to limit enrollment in the huge, 67,000-student university by closing applications to next year's freshman class on March 1, five months earlier than usual.

Crow said he knows that could count many young people out of an ASU education.

"This has always been an institution that admitted every qualified student," he said. "If you are qualified, took the course work, you'd be admitted and we didn't put in deadlines to keep students away. Now, we are going to have a limit to the number of freshmen we can take. There are students who won't be admitted."

Crow said such draconian cuts are a necessary response to state-budget reductions, which have totaled $88 million, or 18 percent of the university's base budget, since June.

He said he regrets that in many meetings with state legislators, including Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Russell Pearce, "we see this dramatic reduction in the state's commitment to the institution."

"The state has decided they can't continue to invest (in higher education) in the same way they have," Crow said. "Now, Mr. Pearce says he doesn't care whether the university is open or not."

Pearce said he's not anti-university, and he rejected suggestions that he and his fellow lawmakers don't care if the universities shut down.

"That's an outrageous fabrication on their part," he said. "When you're out of money, you've got to make hard decisions."

Pearce said the university rollbacks may provide a good opportunity for the state's community colleges, noting that the changes could send more students to the two-year schools at a time when they are grappling with declining enrollments.

"They get a real instructor, too," Pearce said of the community colleges, adding that class sizes are likely to be smaller.

Crow said that although he "fully understands" the budget difficulties facing the state, "the thing that makes what we're doing hard is we are the knowledge infrastructure for this community."

"We are the institution here to be of service to the largest amount of people, and when you have to cut that service back and there are no real alternatives, it is extremely difficult," he added.

But Crow said he has no plans of running away from ASU's problems, no plans to seek greener pastures.

"What I realize is that the role for social change for this institution is greater than ever, and financial storms like one we're in will pass," he said. "We have to make certain we build institutions stronger in the long run. So, that's what I'm focused on.

"I never have thought about the next job. Whatever job I have is the job I go out of dead."

Republic reporters Mary Jo Pitzl and Lesley Wright contributed to this article.

  • Type Size: A A A
  • PrintPrint
  • EmailEmail
  • Most PopularMost Popular

more video »
More on this topic

Another round of cuts

Job cuts: On top of positions already eliminated, several hundred more employees likely will lose their jobs.

Program cuts: 48 academic programs will be shut down, though enrolled students will be able to complete their programs.

Campus changes: Programs and schools will be closed or realigned, most notably at ASU West. That campus will be renamed the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, representing the only college remaining on campus.

Enjoy a limited number of free articles over the next 30 days.
free articles remaining this month.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access.

Become a subscriber today to enjoy these benefits:

View subscription options

Are you currently a subscriber? Set up your digital access now.