SUPERIOR, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Superior leaders say they plan to suspend 25 programs to eliminate poor-performing majors and minors.

The university’s interim Provost Jackie Weissenburge told Wisconsin Public Radio that the move wasn’t driven by budget cuts. The university said it’s responding to the state’s plan to tie university funding to how institutions rank on student access and success.

The university said the programs are being eliminated due to low enrollment, the number of credits students must complete to receive their degree and poor graduation rates.

Faculty, students and alumni have expressed anger over the suspensions, arguing that they weren’t able to give much input on the decision. Those against the university’s decision have held protests, teach-ins and rallies.

Carsen Wetzel is a junior at the university pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art therapy. She’d planned to also get her master’s degree in the same program, but the graduate art therapy program is being suspended.

“I might not be able to pursue my dream, because to receive certification to become an art therapist you are required by the American Art Therapy program to obtain a master’s program or a master’s degree,” she said. “This was my only shot because UW-Superior is the only public university in the entire United States that has both an undergrad and a master’s degree. Anywhere else is private and extremely expensive or far away.”

Suspended programs have five-years to be restored if prospective students show enough interest, the university said.

Students currently enrolled in the programs will be able to complete their degrees.

Gov. Walker’s 18 proposed performance metrics include length of time to obtain a degree and graduation rates.

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents will create a method to measure performance on student success, graduation rates, efficiency and workforce needs.


Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org