Continuing its commitment to restructure academic offerings to best serve current and future students, Houghton College has announced some changes that will take place in the 2014-15 academic year.
In addressing both faculty and staff, Linda Mills Woolsey, dean of the college, referenced the faculty and staff of Houghton as a whole stating, “This task of establishing priorities is really everyone at Houghton’s job… as we strive to be more focused in our mission and offerings, more flexible in our approach to problems and pedagogy, and forward-looking as we reshape Houghton for a thriving future.”
Academic changes will be realized, in part, by reducing the current academic areas from seven to four and academic departments from 18 to about 12. While the specifics have not yet been defined, the dean has committed to work with departments throughout the campus and develop a plan that will create efficient operation and opportunities for cross-disciplinary change. The position of associate dean of academic affairs will also be eliminated.
In her remarks to the faculty, Mills Woolsey commented on the creativity of new and innovative programs that have been developed over the years at Houghton, but also addressed the lack of discipline on the part of the college to let go of programs with declining enrollment or small numbers. This acknowledgment and change in philosophy underscores the college’s commitment to create and renew flexible, sustainable, compelling programs.
A list of programs to cut in the 2014-15 academic year will be submitted to the academic council later this year. This list includes: French concentration and minor, informational technology management major, Islamic studies concentration and minor, psycholinguistics concentration, and visual studies major. Students who are already in programs to be cut will be able to complete their coursework in order to obtain their degrees.
The Greatbatch School of Music has also been asked to resize its operations to better meet the needs of the current number of enrolled undergraduate students; in addition, the School of Music has been charged to develop new offerings, such as music industry studies, that will seek to attract more prospective students.
The college will defer hiring in some academic areas, including sociology, finance, web media and chemistry.
Mills Woolsey addressed the impending faculty reduction by saying, “Most faculty reductions will be through attrition, cutting back on part-time and overload. We will also reassign some faculty load hours in areas where we have patterns of very small classes or declining enrollments.”