NORTH MANCHESTER — Manchester University is adding programs in the health sciences and others with strong potential.
“We are pivoting toward programs that prospective students want,” said President Dave McFadden. “Today’s high school students and their parents are looking for a place that offers a clear return on their investment, whether that’s a good-paying job right after commencement or acceptance into graduate school.”
McFadden, for example, announced last week that Manchester is working to add a Master of Science degree in nutrition and the emerging field of nutrigenomics, which studies the relationship between a person’s DNA, nutrition and health.
The Board of Trustees has approved a proposal to offer the five-year master’s degree program, with three years at the undergraduate level in North Manchester and two at the graduate level in Fort Wayne.
Manchester is also seeking accreditation for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which is in response to a nationwide shortage. It has added an online pharmacogenomics master’s degree, which will soon graduate its first class.
“Why are we doing this? One practical reason is that there is a market opportunity: There is a critical shortage of health-care professionals, and exploding traditional and adult student interest in those professions.
“More importantly,” McFadden said, “health-care professions align closely with our mission to graduate persons of ability and conviction who live lives that improve the human condition.”
Manchester also recently launched a master of accountancy degree that allows students to earn a master’s degree in four years, and a data science bachelor’s degree. It moved the master of athletic training program to the Fort Wayne campus and immediately saw results.
In its undergraduate realignment, Manchester is working on changes to the curriculum that will provide more flexibility for students. For example, some majors are being redesigned to make it easier to have a dual major – an option that is attractive to employers and students alike.
In order to invest in these changes, two faculty positions are scheduled for elimination at the end of this academic year and three will end at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
Six staff positions will be eliminated at the end of January 2020. The school will also freeze or eliminate some positions through attrition and some positions and offices will be consolidated over time.
Those whose positions will be ending were notified Tuesday.
“Because of the faculty reductions, we expect that some majors will be phased out,” McFadden said. “Faculty committees are currently reviewing the latest information to identify what the next steps will be. All curricular changes require faculty approval before they are implemented.”
If any major is identified for closure, students who are currently in that major will be able to complete it, but no new majors in that area will be accepted after the decision is made.
“The changes we are making – in academic programs and staffing – will keep us competitive for this and future generations of students,” McFadden said.
Faculty and others have proposed changes in many areas, including biology-chemistry, criminology, education, environmental studies, visual arts, music, exercise science and medical technology.
Long rooted in the liberal arts tradition, Manchester “is not abandoning the liberal arts but reimagining how they can be infused into all of our majors,” McFadden said. “We believe that skills such as critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution and an appreciation of cultural differences are timeless and necessary for success in a diverse and increasingly complex world.