UVM Reaches Deal to Save College of Arts and Sciences Offerings

BURLINGTON, Vermont (WCAX) – A proposal to eliminate 27 programs within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the University of Vermont has met with stiff opposition since it was proposed in December. Now an agreement has been made to save some of these major, minor and masters programs. It comes after the dean of arts and science faculties asked faculty to come up with a counter-proposal, which would restructure some of these programs. Although an agreement has been reached, the president of the teachers’ union says it is still not what they hoped for.

“What I heard was that there was a very behind-the-scenes and non-transparent approach with the deans pressuring the professors to essentially write their own exit plans. So teachers accept them or vote for them in many cases out of fear for their own jobs, ”said Julie Roberts, president of the UVM teachers’ union.

UVM cited a budget deficit of more than $ 8 million to justify the cuts to the College of Arts and Sciences. The 12 major programs, 11 minors and 4 master’s programs at risk have low enrollment and graduation rates.

“Our goal is the students. We have a lot of high demand programs for which we don’t have enough resources because we are spending so much money and resources on very low demand programs, ”said the Senior and Senior Vice President of the UVM, Patty Prelock.

The majors that will be retained or revised are classical civilizations, religion, German and Asian studies. The majors that have been accepted for completion include Greek, Latin, Geology (BA / BS), Italian Studies, European Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Miners in classical civilizations and Italian studies were also saved. But minor in Greek language and literature, Latin language and literature, geology, Italian, GRS: Canada,
GRS: Europe, Gerontology (Sociology), Speech and Debate (Theater) and Vermont Studies should be eliminated.

2 master’s programs have been saved, in geology as well as in Greek & Latin. Teaching in Greek and Latin will be abolished, discussions are underway on the masters program in historic preservation.

Even though the programs are scheduled to be completed, most of the coursework will be retained. This allows students to continue learning about a specific subject, but there will no longer be the option to pursue a major or minor.

“Latin American and Caribbean studies are a good example,” says CAS Dean William Falls. “[It’s] a stand-alone major to which few students have subscribed, but which will become a track within the larger and more robust major of global studies.

Dean Falls says course restructuring, faculty redeployment and retirements will eventually close the budget gap; allowing to focus on the future.

But the President of the Union believes that the damage has already been done.

“This is Vermont’s flagship university and I think Vermonters should be concerned. These changes aren’t necessarily good for UVM and not necessarily good for Vermont, ”says Roberts.

This agreement is not yet signed, sealed and delivered. There are a number of faculty processes that still need to be done, but both sides have shown their support. Going forward, the plan is to develop a better system for keeping tabs on enrollment and student interest in courses in order to stay ahead of necessary curriculum changes.

Copyright 2021 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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