ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University released a statement Monday concerning what it calls a "deactivation plan" for degree programs officials consider "low performing."
In the statement, ASU Provost Abiodun Ojemakinde said the deactivation of programs will allow the university to have a long-term plan to address institutional enrollment declines in the past four (4) years and subsequent budget deficits.
In all, 10 degree programs (8 undergraduate and 2 graduate) are slated to be deactivated, including many arts and education programs.
The cuts amount to nearly a quarter of the undergraduate programs by the school, according to the University System of Georgia.
The deactivation affects two of ASU's Master of Education programs, bringing the school's offering from seven to five.
Ojemakinde said the move was more about better using resources and ensuring the "maintenance of quality programs."
The statement also included several frequently asked questions, with answers provided below by Ojemakinde:
Is ASU cutting programs, and when?
Answer: ASU does plan to "deactivate," not eliminate programs as early as spring 2016 and no later than fall 2016.
What does "deactivate" mean in this case?
Answer: Deactivate means that programs are temporarily suspended from admitting new students for up to two years. It does not mean that the programs are eliminated or terminated. Deactivated programs remain authorized programs at the institution and they could be reinstated within two years of deactivation.
Which programs will be affected?
Answer: B.A. in English, B.A. in Speech and Theatre, B.A. in Art, B.A. in Music, B.A. in History, B.A.S. in Technology Management, Bachelor of Music Education, and B.S. in Science Education. Graduate: Master of Education (MED) in English; and MED in Science. There is a possibility that some programs slated for deactivation will be combined or repurposed.
Why are the programs being deactivated?
Answer: Enrollment declines, four years in a row, and budget shortfalls have caused the university to make harder and more strategic choices about its academic program offerings and how best to serve its students in the long run.
Is the deactivation mandated by the BOR?
Answer: No, not at all. Annually, the Georgia Board of Regents provides data to all university system institutions for information and data-driven, strategic decisions. For the past several years, the Board has been reviewing the academic programs at all institutions and their degree production. This is a consistent effort to look at how degree programs are performing, and address the needs and interests of students.
How will this decision affect students who are currently enrolled in these programs?
Answer: Students who are currently enrolled will be able to continue their matriculation toward academic degrees in their chosen fields. No new admissions will be allowed for the deactivated, low-performing programs; those programs will be suspended for up to two years as solutions are explored for ways to increase enrollment or reshape the program to attract student enrollment.
Since programs such as English, art, speech and music are being deactivated, does this mean a student cannot take English, art or music classes at ASU?
Answer: No. Students will still be able to take English, art, speech and music courses that count toward their required core courses for graduation. This program change means that students will not be able to major and pursue a degree in English, art, speech or music, if the program has been deactivated.
What implications are there for the approved fine arts building?
Answer: During the first two years of their matriculation at Albany State University, as part of their general liberal arts education, all undergraduate students will take classes in the fine arts building. Deactivation does not preclude the offering of courses in the deactivated programs to meet the requirements for general education of all Albany State students. The funds for the new building have already been approved. The groundbreaking is scheduled for spring 2016 and the building is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.
What about the students who are already in program-related activities, e.g. – the ASU Marching Band?
Answer: Student performers who are already participating will continue to participate in the band, chorus and other such organizations. Student performers matriculate in many different academic majors at the university, such as business, psychology, sociology, education, biology, etc. Marching Band is not an academic major and deactivation of low-producing programs has nothing to do with performing in such extracurricular activities as band or chorus. All students interested in participating in band or chorus will continue to have the opportunity to do so. This action only affects low-performing academic programs.