Home » EKU board approves changes to academic programs; some degree programs suspended

EKU board approves changes to academic programs; some degree programs suspended

Cites state funding cuts for move

RICHMOND, Ky. (Dec. 6, 2016) — The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved several changes to academic programs.

Changes were made to make some programs more efficient and marketable, while other programs are being suspended. In all cases, decisions were based on factors such as enrollment and graduation numbers.

“It is a fact that the changes to state funding (cuts in appropriations and yet-to-be-finalized performance-based metrics) brought new urgency to the need for the program review,” said Craig Turner, chair of the Board of Regents. “If we cannot recruit, retain and graduate students from our programs and offer needed support, we will not survive under the new performance-based funding.”

Although EKU will continue to offer courses in the following disciplines, the board approved suspension of these degree programs:

  • BA and minor in Comparative Humanities
  • BA in English/Theatre Concentration (The theatre minor will be retained, and two theatre certificates established. EKU Theatre public performances will continue, though maybe fewer in number.)
  • BA in English, Theatre Teaching
  • BA and minor in French
  • BA in French Teaching
  • MBA Concentration in Accounting
  • MBA Concentration in Integrated Communication
  • Associate of Applied Science, Science for Engineering

The approximately 160 students now enrolled in those degree programs will be able to complete their degrees.

The board also approved a redesign of the following programs in order to help them become more marketable:

  • BS and minor in Horticulture (degree to become a Concentration in Agriculture)
  • BA and minor in Journalism (degree to become a Concentration in Broadcast and Electronic Media).  The Eastern Progress, a student-produced weekly campus newspaper, will continue to be published.
  • BA and minor in Geography (degree to be converted to a degree in Geographic Information Systems)

The Regents said the following programs would be retained, but with a cost reduction by spring 2017:

  • Minor in Religion
  • Minor in Social Intelligence and Leadership Studies
  • BA in Technical Writing Concentration in English

Also, a minor in Applied Ethics will be retained and re-evaluated in 2018.

In all, the changes will result in a savings of approximately $615,000, but will not result in the loss of any tenured faculty. When possible, faculty from suspended programs will be reassigned.

EKU is facing a $11.1 million budget shortfall for 2017-18, which includes a 4.5 percent ($3.1 million) cut in state appropriations, as well as a $2.7 million increase in contributions to the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, an increase of $1 million due to changes in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, $2.8 million increase in scholarships, and a $1.5 million increase in fixed and unavoidable costs. The board also approved a $2 million reserve for strategic investment in response to performance-based funding measures, bringing the total to $13.1 million.

Already, the administration has taken actions touching every area of EKU to reduce the total recurring budget impact to approximately $9 million. An Enhanced Retirement Transition Program (ERTP), announced earlier this fall, will continue through the Spring 2017 semester. The ERTP, along with other retirements and attrition, is expected to generate savings of $2.4 million. Additionally, the Board approved an operational savings goal of $1.5 million and an increased revenue goal of $2.6 million. In total, actions approved today reduced the total remaining budget impact to $2 million.