Delaware State University cutting 23 programs

DOVER — Describing the move as an effort to better use its financial resources, Delaware State University will eliminate a dozen undergraduate degree programs and 11 graduate programs of the 82 currently offered by the school.

The programs targeted are ones that attract the least amount of students.

“This really is good news,” said Carlos Holmes, director of News Services at DSU. “It puts us in a better position to help our students academically achieve in the programs they are most interested in and excel in, which also happen to be programs with many career opportunities.”

The university, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, has an enrollment of 4,644 students, according to its website. Some 90 percent are full-time students and 51 percent are from Delaware.

The realignment was not unexpected.

The 23 areas of concentration selected to be deactivated were chosen based on information collected through the Program Prioritization Initiative, a housekeeping tool developed by DSU more than two years ago. It set out with a time line of one year to complete its task.

“They were tough decisions to make so we took longer than expected to evaluate all the information we had and we held many discussions to come to our final conclusion,” Mr. Holmes said.

And that final decision resulted in dropping the 23 programs. However, the 76 courses in the various programs will not necessarily be dropped, as many courses serve more than one major and fulfill several general education requirements.

“For example, we’ve chosen to deactivate our Spanish and French programs but classes will still be offered because we have a foreign language minimum requirement,” Mr. Holmes said.

No layoffs expected

Although the changes seem big, life on campus will continue as usual for all current staff and students. Students enrolled in the eliminated programs will be able to finish their planned course but no new students will be accepted.

As for faculty, most will continue teaching the courses they already teach.

“This isn’t something that’s resulting in layoffs,” Mr. Holmes said. “It’s a way of improving the education of our students and better utilizing our professors.”

Some professors have been teaching courses with only a handful of students, he said, even though there is a 10-student minimum. Wastes in resources like these classes were taken into consideration during the Program Prioritization Initiative, Mr. Holmes said.

By moving away from shrinking programs, the university can allocate more resources and money to growing ones.

Undergraduate programs that will benefit from the elimination of the 23 programs include agriculture, aviation, criminal justice, food and nutritional science, mass communications, natural resources, neuroscience, psychology, sport management and teaching English as a second language.

Graduate programs that will benefit are biological sciences, business administration, chemistry, educational leadership, health promotion, natural resources, neuroscience and nursing.

Agriculture has long been a mainstay at Delaware State University, one of the just over 100 historically black universities and colleges in the United States. That program along with four other disciplines were the only ones offered when what was then called the State College for Colored Students accepted its first students in 1891,

One of 19 existing land-grant universities, the institution was established by the Delaware General Assembly as a result of the federal Morrill Act of 1890. Today, the university encompasses more than 30 buildings on a 356-acre main campus. It also has two academic locations on Kirkwood Highway in Wilmington and on the campus of Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown,

In November 2015 DSU received the 1890 Land Grant University of the Year award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, DSU also received the association’s top award in 2013.

The university is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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