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SIU may shut down mining degree programs

Friday, Jul 14, 2017

* The Southern

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees on Wednesday reviewed a financial sustainability plan for the Carbondale campus that recommends the closure of seven programs and the consolidation of some departments.

Even with state appropriations restored after the passage of Illinois’ first full budget in two years, administrators say the sweeping structural changes are needed to account for SIUC’s dwindling student enrollment.

The financial sustainability plan recommends the closure of the following programs “based on a significant history of low enrollment and substantially weaker comparative performance on other metrics”:

    BS, Mining Engineering
    MS, Mining Engineering
    BA, Business Economics
    BS, Physical Education Teacher Education
    BA, Africana Studies
    MA, Political Science
    Ph.D., Historical Studies

University officials have either suspended or are considering suspension of admission to those programs.

SIU’s new plan is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - Crosstab - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    The BOT voted in favor of the plan and those programs will close:

    http://dailyegyptian.com/70103/news/board-votes-to-implement-financial-stability-plan-montemagno-appointed-chancellor/


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    If Rauner can make “obsolete” majors by ruining the universities, then closing them passively might just be accomplished before the election too?


  3. - Rogue Roni - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 9:50 am:

    But what about all those coal jobs? I was told there would be coal jobs…


  4. - Saluki - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    Will the same number of programs be closed at SIUE to maintain parity? It’s criminal that trustees have allowed a great campus to decline in the name of a pointless parity idea that will never happen.


  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    But I thought we all valued Education……


  6. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    If enrollment overall is down, and is historically very low in these programs, it makes sense to devote resources elsewhere. Build up programs students want, and close those they don’t.


  7. - Illdoc - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    To the comment about siue…… the enrollment has increased because more students are applying and unfortunately the opposite is happening at siu. Students in Illinois “vote” by applying to the university of their choice. Frankly the administration at siue has done a better job the last decade


  8. - ArchPundit - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    The MA in Polisci is weird to be doing away with–it’s only a paper change. The department will still have a PhD program. It could be a cleanup of a degree that is seldom sought. It saves no money though.


  9. - the Patriot - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    SIU has roughly 100 more majors than most major universities. If you do not have enough students in a major to pay the professor, it is a waste of money. You can’t pay a professor a $120k benefit package for 8 students paying 12 k each. SIU has dozens of programs where the number of enrollees does not cover the professor.

    Step 2 cut programs that don’t have jobs. SIU is cranking out Social workers when IL does not have any more social work jobs.

    Mine Engineering does not have enough jobs. there is only a handful of Engineers at each mine and since most of our mines are owned by out of state companies, they transfer in anyway.

    I believe Logan and Rend Lake still run underground certification programs to get the miners the certificates they need to work underground. This is an Engineering program and there were not that many positions in IL in the hay day of coal mines.


  10. - Captain Obvious - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    Is it possible a fiscal crisis has forced efficiency? Would this have been done or even considered had the state maintained funding levels?


  11. - hexagon - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    I’d be cautious about overestimating the cost of a professor salary and benefits. Many are now adjuncts with very low pay and even tenure track or Tenured people don’t make much. The 120k package estimate is at the high end and rare. Universities have been dealing with cuts for decades before Rauner.


  12. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    –Is it possible a fiscal crisis has forced efficiency? Would this have been done or even considered had the state maintained funding levels?–

    Can’t say, but any responsible university administration would be continuously reviewing its programs’ enrollments and costs to evaluate whether they should continue or not.


  13. - Res Melius - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    === - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    –Is it possible a fiscal crisis has forced efficiency? Would this have been done or even considered had the state maintained funding levels?–

    Can’t say, but any responsible university administration would be continuously reviewing its programs’ enrollments and costs to evaluate whether they should continue or not. ==

    Agree and that happens; but there are times when a “crisis” helps force a decision now than delaying the inevitable. Don’t waste a serious crisis as Rahm famously said.


  14. - cdog - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    It appears that SIUC needed to make these cuts to maintain historical funding balances.

    If you look at the numbers on pg 15 of their presentation, they have lost 5600 students, FY02-FY17.

    Their total revenue, when adding Tuition Revenue and State Approp Revenue for FY02 and FY18, will also be lower, but appears to be an appropriate haircut.

    FY02 49% Tuition, 51% state
    FY18 48% tuition, 52% state

    It’s hard being the boss sometimes but they appear to be taking necessary steps.

    Good news, though. They are still offering their degree in Fermentation Sciences for the budding brewmasters of Illinois. :) http://fermentation.siu.edu/degree-program/


  15. - efudd - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    As far as the mining degrees, well, people used to make their living whaling.
    The industry is dead. Maybe in the next ten years the Trump voters down here, in Eastern Kentucky, and West Virginia will have the courage to admit they bought into a carney show.


  16. - Exasperated - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    After decades of revolving door leadership and no clear vision of its future, SIU is now forced to re-define itself. Despite multi-million dollar marketing campaigns enrollment continues to plummet. Faculty and staff are voluntarily seeking new opportunities or they’re being laid off. Long-time stable businesses in the community are now begging loyal customers to bail them out. The state budget mess is really just one factor. Recovery, if it can happen at all, will take years and will continue to be very painful.


  17. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    To hexabon’s comment. Agree. Ever hear the phrase “starving professor”? Given the cost of tuition, it’s hard to believe that people are getting paid so little of that. Must wonder where, oh where does it all go?

    The local highly reputable college near me, with very high tuition, pays my friend, an adjunct professor a salary of somewhere in the 20s. Hardly something to be jealous of, particularly the PhD part of his (out of his own pocket) degree.

    Have no clue how people have gotten the erroneous belief that educators are living the high life. Easy and lazy thing to believe, I guess.

    But where does the money go, seriously?


  18. - apriori - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    ===–Is it possible a fiscal crisis has forced efficiency? Would this have been done or even considered had the state maintained funding levels?–===

    I don’t think so. Every year, each public university has to submit a report to the IBHE on all programs that it creates, eliminates, consolidates, and those that are considered “low producing” by IBHE standards. Often you can find this report in the minutes of local BOT meetings.

    Here is a link to the full report from 2015: http://www.ibhe.org/Reports%20&%20Studies/pdf/LowProducingPrograms.pdf

    Universities are always reviewing programs, offerings, staffing, and enrollment. They must because funding is a constant struggle.

    What this crisis has done, is force decisions that have hurt academic programs in ways that were not planned by the universities. It has undercut the mission of each and every one of our public institutions. Period!


  19. - blue dog dem - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Finally. This is an area me and the gov can agree on.


  20. - efudd - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    As far as the mining degrees, well, people use to make their living whaling.
    The industry is in it’s death rattle.
    Maybe in the next few years Trump voters down here, in Eastern Kentucky, and West Virginia will be able to admit they bought a bill of goods.


  21. - Aldyth - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    I guess the University of Missouri School of Science and Technology (formerly known as the Rolla School of Mines)can expect more students from Illinois.


  22. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    –They are still offering their degree in Fermentation Sciences–

    I took the independent study program at a different university. /s


  23. - DuPage - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    @- Exasperated - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    === Faculty and staff are voluntarily seeking new opportunities===

    Tier 2 pensions are another factor. Some of the very best faculty and staff started fleeing Illinois since they became aware of their pension not being competitive with other states.


  24. - City Zen - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    ==The local highly reputable college near me, with very high tuition, pays my friend, an adjunct professor a salary of somewhere in the 20s. Have no clue how people have gotten the erroneous belief that educators are living the high life. ==

    Just curious…if your friend was hired 40 years ago, would he still be an adjunct?

    I think intergenerational equity is at play here. The Boomers got to reap the benefits of the traditional professor lifestyle but Millenials have a much different advancement path…a path architect-ed by a Boomer.


  25. - The Patriot - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    == The 120k package estimate is at the high end and rare. ==

    Fringe beneifts for IL state employees is equal to an additional 39% of their salary. SIU has over 400 people salaried around 90 or over. Not all are professors, but most are.

    Every entity has production and administration. The guy on the line cranking out tires has to not only cover his cost, but his share of the admin cost. In the University setting, professors are the one’s generating income by getting students in their classes. If they don’t even cover their won salary, it is a problem.


  26. - Huh? - Friday, Jul 14, 17 @ 4:20 pm:

    Mining will always be a viable industry. Coal is going the way of whaling. But other minerals will still be mined. Where do you think the limestone for roads comes from.


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