Letter to the editor: KU programs

To the editor:

The coverage of program closures at KU missed some key information.

First and foremost, it is not accurate to characterize programs as having low enrollment because of their number of majors. A bachelor’s degree at KU requires 120 credit hours, and the major can account for as few as 30. There is even the option of earning a Bachelor of General Studies with no major. That means that many — possibly all — students take courses outside their major. Interdisciplinary programs like Humanities often do most of their teaching for nonmajors. This teaching provides curriculum support and budget relief to other programs that use their courses as requirements. The provost’s estimate of savings does not appear to account for new costs that will be incurred when other departments lose the resource of the Humanities program, or as students take longer to graduate with fewer course options.

Beyond this financial concern, Humanities at KU is the oldest free-standing program of its kind in the nation. It is a mark of distinction for our state and an asset for our flagship university, which should be highlighted for support and recruitment. At a time when KU needs to draw more students, it is self-destructive to diminish the programs that are on offer.

Ben Chappell,

Lawrence

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