Louisiana Public Colleges to Lose Foreign Language Programs

According to an article in the Columbus, IN, online paper, The Republic, Louisiana’s Board of Regents will be cutting foreign language programs throughout state universities. Below is the article of April 27, 2011:

More than 100 degree programs — including in foreign language, economics, science and education — will be cut at Louisiana’s public colleges because they have too few graduates, the Board of Regents agreed Wednesday.

The panel, which oversees higher education in the state, also decided to consolidate more than 190 other academic programs. All were identified in January as “low-completer” programs with few students getting degrees from them.

Education officials say students enrolled in the programs will be able to finish their degrees before the programs are scrapped.

“These program terminations and consolidations were tough decisions, especially in the review of foreign languages,” Regents Chairman Bob Levy said in a statement. “What we discovered is that in today’s global economy, students are taking foreign languages, but they are not majoring in them.”

The state’s only Latin degree program, at LSU’s main campus, will disappear, along with degree programs in German at LSU and French and Spanish at LSU-Shreveport, Southern University and Grambling State University. Students still will be able to take foreign language classes, but there won’t be enough upper-level courses offered to earn a degree in those languages.

Other degree programs to be scrapped include chemistry at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, fashion design and merchandising at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, geography at Louisiana Tech University, communications studies at McNeese State University and sociology at Southern University at New Orleans.

Universities have faced repeated budget cuts that have stripped more than $310 million in state funding, or about 18 percent, from campuses since 2008. Tuition increases have covered only some of the gaps.

Regents performed a similar review in the last two years and ended 118 programs, but this latest review had more rigorous standards and no exemptions. More than 450 programs at campuses around the state were targeted for review, 30 percent of the academic programs, and 298 will be either eliminated or consolidated.

Schools were given time to plead their case to try to keep programs open.

Board members said the elimination of “low-completer” programs will help campuses save money in tight financial times, improve their performance and get them focused on their core missions and centers of excellence.

For undergraduate programs, those that were eliminated had fewer than eight graduates per year or fewer than 24 completers over three years. Graduate-level programs that will be scrapped had even fewer students reaching their degrees.


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