Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014

UNO President Peter Fos Announces Recommendations for Academic Restructuring

University of New Orleans President Peter J. Fos today announced his recommendations for restructuring and strengthening the University’s academic programs. The recommendations, which he submitted to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, will be considered for action during the board meeting on Dec. 11-12.

Both the Faculty Governance Committee—a working group comprised of faculty members and the academic deans—and Richard Hansen, interim vice president for academic affairs, made recommendations to President Fos in November after a months-long review of the University’s 80 academic programs. The Faculty Governance Committee used six criteria to evaluate and score the programs, placing them in one of four categories: enhance; sustain; restructure, merge or otherwise transform; or close.

"I would like to thank the Faculty Governance Committee and Richard Hansen for their thorough and diligent work throughout this process," President Fos said. "Their reports, which represent hundreds of hours of work, were critical documents in guiding my decisions. Input from faculty members has been invaluable, as they are the ones ultimately responsible for the quality of academic programs. Members of the UNO community should know that I took great care in making these recommendations."

President Fos’ report includes a three-stage plan:

Phase 1 focuses on the immediate discontinuance of a set of academic programs.

Phase 2, which will take place in the spring of 2015, involves reviewing a second set of programs, identified by the Faculty Governance Committee, that need to be modified or restructured in order to be sustained.

Phase 3, which will take place in the fall of 2015, will identify strategies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the programs that were identified by the Faculty Governance Committee as the most viable degree programs.

Here are President Fos’ Phase 1 recommendations:

  • Discontinue the B.S. in Early Childhood Education
  • Discontinue the M.Ed. in Special Education
  • Discontinue the Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Discontinue the Ph.D. in Special Education
  • Eliminate the Department of Geography (degree programs were discontinued in 2011)
  • Discontinue the M.A. in Political Science
  • Discontinue the Ph.D. in Political Science
  • Discontinue the M.A. in Romance Languages

In addition to these recommendations concerning specific academic programs, President Fos also recommended that: department chairs teach a minimum of two courses in the fall semester and two courses in the spring semester in order to reduce dependence on adjuncts, 10 instructor positions be eliminated, the adjunct budget be reduced by $1 million and four positions be eliminated in the Earl K. Long Library.

The University will develop a structured advising plan and identify specific advisors to work with each student in a discipline associated with a discontinued program. Students who can complete their degree requirements within a reasonable timeline will be allowed to do so. Others may seek to pursue a different degree within UNO or their desired program of study at another institution.

"In order for the University of New Orleans to effectively fulfill its mission as a comprehensive urban research university, strategic change is necessary," President Fos said. "We need to make sure that the University is meeting the needs of its students and community with the right array of quality degree programs. Implementing this revitalization plan will stabilize the academic and financial standing of the institution and position it for future sustainable growth."

View President Fos’ full academic program restructuring report.