On Thursday Nov. 12, President Emeritus Heckler sent an email out to the campus community announcing his decision regarding the programs up for discontinuance. The conclusion was made after the programs had been voted on by the Education Policy Committee and Faculty Senate.
Heckler explained the cuts needed to be made as part of reducing the university’s budget.
“As a reminder, in the summer of 2020, upon recommendation of the President and the Chief Financial Officer, the Board of Directors charged the administration to make reductions to the University’s FY21 budget, which runs July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. The Provost’s Office proposed the discontinuance of a set of programs as part of those required reductions,” Heckler said in his email.
Heckler emphasized that the cuts were not a result of the programs’ quality.
“The quality and mission alignment of each of these academic programs was never in question, as each has contributed well to Valpo’s educational objectives, its range of programs, and its student outcomes,” read the email.
The Chinese minor was one of the programs voted to be discontinued.
“Going forward, introductory Chinese language courses will continue to be taught in the Chinese and Japanese Studies program,” Heckler said in the email.
However, the Chinese and Japanese Studies major and minor was not discontinued and will still be offered.
“The Department of World Languages and Cultures will revise the current curriculum to account for changes in the University’s language offerings and capitalize on the various course offerings across the College of Arts and Sciences that promote understanding of China and East Asia,” read the email.
The French major was discontinued, but the minor will still be available and French courses will be integrated in the university’s International Engineering Program, allowing it to continue to be offered.
Greek and Roman Studies has been discontinued in both its major and minor forms.
The Elementary Education program was saved and will now also include courses for the Bachelor of Music Education.
“The goal going forward will be to further implement collaborative offerings across the College of Arts and Sciences through the Elementary Education program,” Heckler said in the email.
However, the Secondary Education Program has been discontinued.
Social Work was saved under provisional terms.
“The Social Work major and minor will both continue to be offered with the provisions that the program successfully completes its upcoming accreditation renewal and completes steps to grow its enrollment,” Heckler stated in the email.
Theatre at Valpo has been discontinued, but there are plans in the works to keep some version of theatre on campus.
“I have charged the Theatre Department, the Communication Department, and the College of Engineering to work collaboratively to devise a technical theatre and video/television production minor to replace the current program,” the email read.
Heckler thanked all those who participated in the discontinuance process for their careful deliberations even though it was difficult.
“Each of the faculty and students involved in these programs deserved everyone’s full consideration and I thank you for making that commitment,” Heckler said in his email.
All of the students in discontinued programs will be taught out, or still allowed to complete their degrees at Valpo.
“All of us are committed to your success as you pursue your educational goals at Valparaiso University,” Heckler said in the email.
Selina Bartels, Assistant Professor of Education, is happy her program has been saved.
“I am thrilled that the Elementary Education Program will continue here at Valpo as we provide high quality teachers for the area and beyond. I am disheartened that the University did not see the value in continuing the Secondary Education Program,” she said.
Fontaine Lien, Assistant Professor of World Languages and Culture, emphasizes that even though the minor was discontinued Chinese courses will still be offered at Valpo.
"Students who are already signed up for the minor, as well as students who have already begun to take Chinese language, should continue their study of the language," Lien said.
She also expressed her feelings regarding the decision.
"I acknowledge that budgetary decisions must be made under exigent circumstances, and that foreign language instruction is not considered essential for students who wish to pursue a professional career. All students should, however, think about how such program cuts will fundamentally change the nature of university education in the United States, and whether they think such a transformation is desirable," Lien said.
However, Allannah Karas head of Greek and Roman Studies believes she is being punished for her program’s popularity.
In a statement she received about the program being discontinued it says that she gave new life to the program making it more popular.
“So much so that, because of the popularity of the general education non-language-based courses, a second faculty position is needed. Conversely, the number of majors remains quite small, and few students take Greek and Latin language courses,” the statement said.
Karas believes that the discontinuance is therefore ironic and uncalled for.
“Moreover, the statement which implies this is utterly false, because as I had argued, a minor would very much be sustainable without a second faculty position,” she said. “These are all my first impressions, of course, but the statement reveals, to me, some basic facts: that the administration needs money more desperately than we know, that junior faculty are low-lying fruit, and that the dissolution of Greek and Roman Studies was a foregone conclusion.”
This is a developing story. The Torch will update this story as more information becomes available.