By Emma Campbell
Interim President Dottie King said the College’s decision to cut four majors and combine other majors was driven by the need to “live within our means.”
King said the criteria for deciding what programs would be kept or cut focused on “centrality to the College’s mission”, the ability for programs to be “delivered with distinction”, enrollment in programs, retention in the programs, and the cost effectiveness of the programs.
The purpose, says King, was to hone the College’s marketing and to focus on programs that are growing and in need of more resources; not to save the college money.
“They cuts will not save money; that is not their purpose.”
In the last two years students have seen about a 7% tuition increase. In order to keep the tuition costs lower and increase faculty salaries the College plans to use a “reallocation of resources”.
King says this plan will redistribute resources to programs with growing interest and effectiveness that have been lacking in resources in the past.
King says that in the past, the faculty has been asked to create new programs in order to attract students. There were varying degrees of success in these programs, but when a program did not show to be effective, the College failed to eliminate the program immediately.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has around 310 on campus students and 37 academic majors before the cuts.
Kings says these numbers create a disparity in faculty workloads.
When asked about whether or not any faculty positions would be eliminated with program cuts, King declined to comment, but reinforced the “reallocation of resources” idea.
Executive Director of College Relations Dee Reed has been monitoring popular social networking site Facebook to read the comments and questions students and alumnae have been posting.
Many students have taken to Facebook to show their displeasure and aggravation at the program cuts.
A product of this aggravation is the new Facebook group “Save St. Mary-of-the-Woods Music and Theatre.” This group, created on Feb. 3 has already gained 671 members.
On this site students and alumnae voice their concerns about what the cuts may mean to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
King, who has not been on Facebook herself, says that she does not want students to stop voicing their opinions.
She said, “Woods women are exactly who we want them to be. They have opinions and are not afraid to voice them.”
She does remind students that once you put something out on the internet, you can never take it back.
Also, she said “Some students overstepped a line of professionalism in regard to certain comments.”
When asked if students, faculty, and staff could expect another town hall meeting in which they could ask questions of the committee, King said it way highly unlikely.
King does remain open for answering any questions that the college community may have.
She says, “Sometimes negative decisions are made for positive reasons.”
“A great deal of thought went into these decisions, and I believe these changes will benefit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in the long run.”