UW-Stevens Point rolls out transformation that would cut 6 liberal arts degrees, focus on careers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

​By Karen Herzog

Proclaiming the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point no longer can be all things to all people, Chancellor Bernie Patterson on Monday proposed eliminating a handful of humanities majors and transforming the school into “a new kind of regional university” that infuses the liberal arts into career-minded majors.

It’s not known whether the proposed “restructuring around our strengths” model could be a blueprint for retrenching other regional UWs as all campuses face tight budgets, and enrollments generally are stagnant or declining.

Last spring, it appeared the central Wisconsin campus with 7,725 students was headed toward phasing out 13 low-demand humanities majors to reduce its nearly $8 million structural deficit. Students protested, faculty were outraged, and national media headlines suggested Wisconsin was killing the humanities.

The chancellor’s proposal released to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before a campuswide meeting Monday whittles down the cut to six low-demand majors, including four in the humanities: French, German, history, geology, geography and two degree programs within art (two-dimensional and three-dimensional art).

The history degree is in jeopardy because of a 48 percent drop in the number of students choosing it as a major over the past five years, from 146 students in 2013 to 76 last year. The number of students majoring in history is dropping around the country, in part because of parent and student concerns about finding jobs.


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