Luther College Chips

Timeline released for potential cuts

Professor+of+Dance+Andrea+Vazquez-Aguirre+instructs+students+in+their+technique.+The+dance+program+is+currently++among+the+programs+considered+to+be+cut.
Professor of Dance Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre instructs students in their technique. The dance program is currently  among the programs considered to be cut.

Professor of Dance Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre instructs students in their technique. The dance program is currently among the programs considered to be cut.

Nathan Riley (‘18) | Photo Bureau

Nathan Riley (‘18) | Photo Bureau

Professor of Dance Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre instructs students in their technique. The dance program is currently among the programs considered to be cut.

Julia Curtis, Staff Writer

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Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Kevin Kraus made the decision in conjunction with President Carlson that proposed program cuts, if made official, will not take effect until after the enrollment of graduating 2017 high school seniors.

This decision comes in part because the faculty has not yet decided which programs to cut. This timeline change also gives the administration time to inform the faculty whose programs will be cut about the non-renewal of their contract. Another reason behind this decision is the upcoming registration events for graduating seniors.

“The first ROAD happens in May and there are ROAD events in June, so it doesn’t seem fair or wise to pull the rug out from under the students who have committed to Luther,” Kraus said. 

Kraus added that this timeline also ensures that decisions are not made in haste.

“I’ve put it upon myself that I’m asking a lot of questions and making sure that people are not moving too fast because some people want to make quick decisions to make the pain [of cutting majors] go away,” Kraus said.

Kraus also asked faculty members about which programs could be cut while still maintaining Luther’s educational standards.

“We’ll have a somewhat smaller offering, but I don’t think it fundamentally changes who we are,” Kraus said. “We’re still fundamentally a college with a lot of things to offer, just not as many things as before.”

Administration and faculty began discussions about program and major cuts in the spring of 2016 when they realized student enrollment decreased for the 2016-2017 school year. The administration found a need to cut faculty to follow the student-faculty ratio of 13:1 that the Academic Planning Committee (APC) advised. In recent years, this ratio has decreased significantly due to lowered enrollment.

“The charge of the APC was to evaluate academic programs in light of the administration’s aim to become closer in line to the 13:1 ratio,” Associate Professor of Philosophy Holly Moore said.

Faculty added extra meetings to their regular meeting schedule to discuss the changes Luther could make in more detail. If necessary, Kraus said, the decision of which courses to cut might not be made until the fall semester of 2017.

“To do this work, to eliminate majors, is to send the message that the faculty are serious that we are willing to do our part to help ensure the future of the institution,” Moore said. “[But] I think it’s very hard for students to hear that the health of the institution in ten years is more important than what the students care about now.”

Hannah Reuss (‘19) said she believes that although necessary, removing programs and majors will ultimately harm Luther’s future and ability to provide for future students.

“I understand that there are a lot of professors and less students are coming [to Luther] than before,” Reuss said. “But I don’t think cutting entire programs helps because students are getting left out who would possibly be interested in those courses.”

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