Dear Commons Community,
On Wednesday, the University of Akron announced that it will phase out 80 degree programs, about 20 percent of what it now offers. It also announced it will hire 31 new faculty in programs in polymer science, biosciences, and cybersecurity. As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education:
“The cuts come after a yearlong review of Akron’s degrees and degree tracks. Among the university’s strengths are nursing, biosciences, engineering, dance, and music, Akron’s Board of Trustees said in a statement. The 10 Ph.D. programs, 33 master’s programs, 20 bachelor’s programs, and 17 associate-degree programs that will be phased out suffered low enrollment or were duplicates of prosperous programs at other, similar institutions.
The process will take a few years, and will free up about $6 million for reallocation, Alex Knisely, a university spokesman, said in an email. There’s no plan to terminate any faculty or staff members because of the program cuts, the statement said. Akron also wants to hire 31 full-time faculty members in those programs identified as priorities, the statement said.
As the university ends what it deems unpopular degrees, it is leaning into a current trend on college campuses: competitive video gaming, known as esports. On Thursday, Akron announced that it would open three new facilities to accommodate varsity, club, and recreational gamers. The university said the centers would represent “the largest amount of dedicated esports space of any university in the world to date.”
How priorities change in higher education!