Luther College Chips

Faculty vote to remove fields of study

Matt Knake (‘14) works in the athletic training clinic. Faculty voted on April 11 to remove the athletic training major.

Matt Knake (‘14) works in the athletic training clinic. Faculty voted on April 11 to remove the athletic training major.

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Matt Knake (‘14) works in the athletic training clinic. Faculty voted on April 11 to remove the athletic training major.

Ben Selcke, Staff Writer

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Luther faculty voted on April 11 to remove two majors, three minors and one full program from the college’s offerings in a step attempting to address the major ramifications of declining enrollment. Faculty voted to keep one program from those recommended for removal, and all results will proceed to the Board of Regents for final approval.

Those fields selected for removal are the athletic training major, the dance major, the K-12 health education minor, the physical education minor, secondary education minor in world languages, and the Russian language program. The Chinese program was the only candidate not voted for removal from those considered.

Although faculty voted for the intersections program to be removed, they did so on the condition that the 100-level intersections classes remain, thus eliminating only the 200-, 300-, and 400-level classes. Further, the college will continue to offer dance classes despite the vote for removal of that major.

While initially on the Academic Planning Committee’s (APC) list for removal, the German department revised its major and the APC subsequently removed the department from the voting list on April 11.

“German is here to stay in its revised form,” APC Chair and Associate Professor of Physics Todd Pedlar said.

If the Board of Regents approves these decisions, there will be a conflict regarding those tenured professors whose area of instruction have been voted for removal. Both the Faculty Interests Committee and the Tenure and Promotion Committee are involved in this process, which according the faculty handbook entails “a horizontal shift of responsibility (from one academic department to another or from an academic department to an administrative office.”

According to Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Kevin Kraus, faculty have discussed in detail what the horizontal shift entails.

“The phrasing used in the faculty handbook is a little vague,” Kraus said.

Despite these potential faculty removals, the result of their implementation will fall short of the college’s desired 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Kraus said that, in an APC meeting after the faculty vote, little was discussed regarding further steps to meeting this goal.

If the votes are approved by the Board of Regents, any student currently in one of the designated fields of study — including incoming students this fall — will be allowed to finish their major. 

“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to figure out what we do next and how we shrink based on these [votes],” Pedlar said.

According to Athletic Training major Gregory Dorow (‘17), the college will need to hire more certified athletic trainers if the vote to remove its major is approved, a change that may require those out-of-season athletes in need of treatment to schedule an appointment within Luther’s clinic or seek help elsewhere.

“The athletic training program benefited Luther students on both an academic and an athletic front,” Dorow said. “Cutting the program will hurt both of these sides of the liberal arts experience.”

Faculty will vote in May on two other areas of study, Russian Studies and Asian Studies, that were proposed for removal in the APC’s initial recommendation.

“The faculty voiced their desire to know the results of the voting on Chinese and Russian language programs [before voting for Asian Studies and Russian Studies],” Pedlar said.

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