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Archive for Thursday, March 13, 2003

Decreased state funding forces Wichita State to cut programs

University’s department heads prepare for 7 percent drop in funds

March 13, 2003

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— Wichita State University said state budget problems had forced it to eliminate two programs and suspend a third, with the possibility that more cuts may occur.

The university will no longer offer a bachelor of arts degree with a major in ethnic studies, and a legal assistant program. It also will suspend a paramedic training program and cut some women's studies courses.

The cuts are in addition to other measures already announced after a 3.9 percent decrease in state funding in 2002. Department heads are preparing for as much as a 7 percent decrease this year.

"We're going to be in a situation where we probably won't be able to meet students' needs," said Robert Kindrick, vice president for academic affairs, when asked about the effects of a possible 7 percent decrease in state funding. "All I can say right now is, we're waiting for the final figures (from the state), and then we'll see where we go."

Changes made so far include dropping a bachelor of arts degree with a major in ethnic studies, although students will be able to earn a minor in the field. Six students currently pursuing the major will be able to get their degrees.

The W. Frank Barton School of Business will end a program that trained students to be legal assistants. Dean John Beehler said the decision was the best use of the school's resources.

"If you look at enrollment over the last five years, that program has had a major decrease in the number of people in the program and the classes," he said. "Looking at all the programs the school offers, it's the only one that's obviously short on students."

WSU also is suspending its paramedic program. Peter Cohen, the dean of the College of Health Professions, said the decision was based partly on low enrollment and partly on nearby community colleges offering similar programs.

The women's studies program plans to eliminate classes in motherhood, assertiveness training, rape prevention and the role of women in American popular culture.

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