NORTH MANCHESTER — Manchester University is in the midst of adding, adjusting and redesigning programs, allowing it to better align its offerings with what students and employers say they want.
This process includes plans to phase out several majors with low enrollment — public relations, economics, physics, engineering science, modern languages and secondary education mathematics.
Students already enrolled in those programs will be able to graduate with those majors and minors, and all current students will have until the end of this academic year to declare those majors or minors and finish them through Manchester.
Of Manchester’s 1,078 undergraduate students, the total enrollment in the majors being phased out is 25.
As the university looks to phase out those programs with low enrollment, it is also adding and changing other programs. For example, a data science major will start this fall and faculty are working to redesign the Spanish, sociology and mathematics majors with added emphasis on practical applications.
“Adding new programs and strengthening existing ones helps us prepare students for good jobs or graduate school as soon as they graduate,” said Manchester President Dave McFadden. “For example, we are developing a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as a master’s degree in nutrition and nutrigenomics. This fall we launched a 3+1 Master of Accountancy, which allows a student to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years.”
The pivot toward courses with strong potential, including health sciences, is intentional.
“We are investing in programs that have the potential to grow,” said McFadden. “That means reinventing some existing majors and ultimately phasing out others.”
In late October, Manchester announced that two faculty positions were scheduled for elimination at the end of this academic year and three will end at the close of the 2020-21 academic year.
No specific announcements were made about program changes then, in large part because Manchester has been taking a measured approach to figuring out how to best shift toward programs that prospective students want and strengthen existing programs that are doing well or have greater potential.
“Faculty identified other promising ideas during our program review this fall and we are actively exploring those possibilities together,” McFadden said in announcing the program phase-outs today to students, faculty and staff.
In coming months, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the full undergraduate faculty will make final decisions on plans announced today. The public relations major will be phased out, but MU will continue to offer a public relations minor.
The economics major and minor will be phased out, but classes in economics will continue. The middle school and secondary education mathematics major and minor are being phased out. A combined major in philosophy and religious studies is being created, and students currently majoring in one or the other will be able to graduate with that major. Religious studies can also be pursued as part of the psychology and religious practice major starting next fall. Separate minors in philosophy and religious studies will still be offered. Manchester will phase out the engineering science major and the physics major and minor. Physics classes will still be offered after that major is phased out. The modern languages major, as well as the French and German minors, will be phased out.