We are proposing to the Board of Trustees on Feb. 14 the closing of 19 programs (12 majors, 6 minors, and 1 graduate program). This decision was not made lightly but is necessary as we prepare for the marketplace realities going forward. We are being called to a new level of accountability to the Sisters of Providence and their mission, which requires the university to be better stewards of the resources provided. Moving forward, we will invest fiscal resources in programs that will position the university to take the strides we need in order to meet the changing demands of the community, state and region. By repositioning our university, we will have the financial resources the university needs to invest in state-of-the-art academic and athletic programs that will become hallmarks for the next chapter in the storied history of the University of Providence.
Which programs go to the Board of Trustees on Feb. 14 as recommendations for closure?
We are presenting to the board on February 14 a recommendation to close the following major and minor degree programs: Accounting (including the graduate program), Art, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, Health and Physical Education, English, History, Sociology, Theater and Business Arts, and Theology. Nothing is final until the Board of Trustees approves?
Which programs will remain at the University of Providence?
If the board approves the recommendations on Feb. 14, the programs that will remain are:
Biology major, minor, and three concentrations
Chemistry major and minor
Computer Science major and minor
Criminal Justice major and minor, with four concentrations and an AS degree
Exercise Science major and minor, and four concentrations
Forensic Science Biology, Chemistry, and Generalist Track majors with minor
Legal and Paralegal Studies major and AS degree
Mathematics major and minor
Medical Assistant Certificate
RN to BSN Degree Completion major
Political Science minor
Psychology major and minor
Surgical Technology AAS
University Studies major
Master of Healthcare Administration
Master of Science in Counseling
Master of Science in Infection Prevention and Epidemiology
Master of Science in Nursing Education
Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with two concentrations
How was it decided which programs would be sunset?
This process has been ongoing for two years. The university relied on data collected from the university-wide analysis by Stevens Strategies last year. When the new provost came on-board July 1, it became clear that the existing data set needed to be augmented. The provost called together a Program Prioritization Advisory Council (PPAC) comprised of faculty from each division within the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences to guide the process. Relying on that faculty input, the provost and the PPAC assembled a list of criteria that the provost used to make the initial recommendations to the president. Criteria influenced by the PPAC and implemented by the provost include a variety of elements, including programs’ numbers of majors, mission orientation, fiscal impact, market competitiveness, distinctiveness, and contributions to university’s other programs and to the liberal arts core curriculum.
It’s important to note that while these programs are being sunset, it doesn’t mean we will not relaunch them in the future if enrollment were to grow and the demands of society deem it necessary.
What does this mean for current students? Will they still be able to graduate from their program if they are currently enrolled in a program that is being sunset? What is the teach out process?
Current students will be given the opportunity to complete their programs. All of the program faculty in the impacted programs are working with individual students to design teach-out plans that will provide the courses the students need to complete their academic programs. The university has a number of options available to it to make sure we provide the students we have already in those programs with the courses they need to graduate. Students will also maintain all academic and athletic scholarships.
How will the liberal arts still be incorporated into a University of Providence education?
The University of Providence is, and will remain, a Catholic liberal arts university. The university is relying on its robust core curriculum, required of all students who graduate from UP, to provide our students with the skills and dispositions that the liberal arts cultivate in a well-rounded educated person.
Is there any aid being provided to the faculty who lose their jobs? How long will they remain here on campus?
Faculty are the heart of any university, and the impact on those faculty in the programs slated to be eliminated is a serious and sensitive issue. The university will retain core faculty in most of the programs in order to provide the robust core curriculum that lies at the heart of the university’s liberal arts identity. Most of the faculty in impacted programs will stay through the first year of the teach-out plan and the university will then be able to re-examine appropriate staffing levels moving forward.
Will any programs be added in the future?
Faculty in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences are already at work building innovative interdisciplinary programs that capitalize on our Catholic heritage (such as “Catholic Studies”), our relationship with Providence St. Joseph Health (such as “Biomedical Ethics”), and the technological needs of the future (such as “Data Science” and “CyberSecurity”).
Will any athletic programs be sunset?
The reductions the university is currently identifying are not exclusive to academics. The Athletic Director is already working to optimize the list of sports that will accompany the university into the future.
How will this impact enrollment for the fall?
All colleges and universities that go through this process take a bit of time to normalize in terms of enrollment. Students who aspire to come to the University of Providence specifically for the programs on the list to be sunset may likely find another university where they can pursue their desires. One of the criteria used to identify programs to be eliminated was the number of declared majors in those programs, and those programs on the list are among the lowest-enrolled programs on campus. Students in other programs (those the university will continue and grow) who have friends in the impacted programs may desire to transfer to be with their friends. But the programs the university will retain into the future are robust. When the university has a chance to focus its resources on the programs that are retained, we anticipate quick enrollment growth.
Why are we building on campus during these program closures? I thought the university was in a stage of growth?
This is a very common problem for campuses going through reprioritizations such as those the university is recommending. The university has long recognized that it had to update and improve its basic infrastructure to attract and retain students. The renovated Student Center and the new University Center are both part of that process. At the same time the university has to focus its investment in the programs that will yield the greatest outcomes for students and result in financial sustainability. As such, decisions around campus investment are akin to gardening – you have to plant in some areas and prune in others to maximize the harvest. Unfortunately, those decisions often happen at the same time. Through this time of pruning and planting, the university is preparing itself for a robust future with a newly focused array of programs that will lead the university’s efforts to respond to the changing demands of the marketplace and the job market.