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Regents scrap 11 graduate programs

Nov. 19, 1998


Staff Writer

The Baylor Board of Regents decided last week to discontinue 11 graduate programs and add two graduate business programs.

Dr. Stan Madden, vice president for university relations, said the regents' decision was based on a review of all graduate programs a few years ago.

'The programs were either not attracting students and didn't work financially or were redundant,' Madden said.

Teresa Sullivan, vice president and graduate dean at the University of Texas, said there was a report issued by the Association for American Studies last week calling for graduate school departments to downsize programs to ensure students get jobs when they graduate. She said UT is also experiencing reductions in the number of students in certain programs.

'We have not eliminated any programs recently, but we have a number of departments that have reduced the number of students within them because in the job market there might not be enough jobs for them,' Sullivan said.

The Baylor graduate programs to be excluded from the curriculum include several master of arts degrees in environmental studies, the master's in Christian theology, the master's in economics, the master's in educational administration and the master of music in string pedagogy.

Sullivan said mathematics is downsizing at UT because mathematics for a Ph.D is not as prevalent as it used to be. Yet specializing programs are forming because of skill demand in the labor market.

'We are beginning new programs that are different to prepare students for industry and not just traditional jobs,' Sullivan said.

Madden said another reason to eliminate the 11 programs was that there are other Baylor academic programs that covered the same area of those eliminated.

'Regents are really cleaning up a number of areas,' said Betty Jo Monk, associate professor of educational administration and associate dean for administrative programs. 'There used to be a master of arts degree, but I know we don't use an M.A. degree in educational administration.'

Madden said some of the programs didn't have a single student in them, but until now they have remained on the books.

'Those with students in them were in the single digits,' Madden said. 'We are not eliminating programs that have a couple of dozen students in them.'

Madden said if students are in a program scheduled to be eliminated, Baylor will keep the program until they graduate.

'We will get them through graduation, then shut the program down,' Madden said. 'We must start the shut-down process and not admit any other students into the program.'

Madden said students or graduates should not be concerned if their degree plans are no longer part of Baylor's curriculum.

'There are some people who have degrees that have not been offered in decades and that's just the nature of academics and the market forces,' Madden said. 'They still have a Baylor degree. It's not like Baylor is going out of business.'

According to a recent press release, Baylor will offer a joint bachelor of business administration/ master of accountancy program and a joint master of business administration/ master of science in information systems degree. These programs will be implemented next fall.

'There is a benefit for students because they can get both degrees in 158 hours where they would have to complete 170 hours if they got a B.B.A. and went for their master's,' said Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley.

Madden said the addition of these programs is a response to the American Institute for Certified Public Accounting that mandates CPA qualifications. The joint degrees will accommodate business accounting students with the degree they need.

'New programs have evolved because accounting as a profession has been moving people to the point that they must have a master's degree to sit in the CPA,' Madden said.

Sullivan said there is also a consideration of establishing additional learning programs at UT such as instructional technology.

Jana Marak, assistant director of institutional research and testing, said after the 11 programs are dissipated Baylor will have 69 master degree programs.

Sullivan said UT has the largest graduate school in the country, offering 93 programs to 10,900 students. She said before UT eliminates a program, it must consider the demand at the school and in Texas.

'What would make a difference is how much demand there is for the degree and if it was offered at other schools,' Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the elimination of a program would have to be approved by a graduate assembly, an elected body of faculty and students, and then would have to be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

She said Baylor has more authority over the graduate programs that it offers.

'A private institution serves different missions,' Sullivan said. 'It's not Baylor's job if Texas is being adequately served with certain programs. They can make their own decisions of what programs they want to specialize in.'

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