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MWSU board to review $6 million in proposed cuts

The university board of governors are set to meet next week to vote on eliminating dozens of programs in an effort to balance the budget.

Posted: Apr 24, 2020 8:31 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2020 11:02 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) --  The list of programs proposed to be cut at Missouri Western is still deep -- just not as bad as originally thought.

Missouri Western president Matt Wilson has removed about a dozen of the nearly 50 programs that are on the chopping block.

Last month administrators announced wide-sweeping cuts that will save the university $5 million yearly. For the nine member panel of faculty and administrators who reviewed all of the programs and made the recommendations, a lot of the decisions came down to student interests.

"When we have programs like that our classrooms aren't full. We're paying professors to teach classes that are under-enrolled," Wilson said.

Wilson cited numbers that show there are 35 programs offered at Missouri Western that have fewer than 15 students enrolled. He says the cuts are necessary for the university's survival.

"If we continue to subsidize programs that are under-enrolled we are really going to bge out of money and the university will no longer exist," Wilson said.

The university is losing nearly $2 million in state funding being withheld due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, Wilson said the problems are much bigger than that and that this review is long overdue.  He said he does not want MWSU falling into the same trap as other universities.

We have had universities nationwide that have closed their doors," Wilson said. "A big part of that is that I don't think they were necessariily prepared. A lot of the decisions that needed to be made were not strategic. Here what we're doing is making necessary adjustments that with our limited resources that students can have a quality experience at Missouri Western."

Wilson reminded people that just because the universoity might be pulling a program doesn't mean that it won't be offering coursework in the subject.

"A lot of folks thought that certain programs were going away like biology or chemistry," he said. "The core fundamental programs will stay the same. We just had a lot of specialty offshoots and concentrations that made the numbers look incredibly big. That wasn't necessarily the case."

Wilson said he's also revising the time frame to phase out the programs to be cut. He's now recommending a three-year period instead of two years to allow current students the opportunity to graduate with the degree of their choice. 

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