by Aimee Levitt
Many people consider New Years a perfect time for clearing out their extra junk. The University of Missouri is of this philosophy, too, kind of. At the behest of the state, Mizzou plans to cull sixteen of its lowest-yielding degree programs over the course of the next few years.
In October, the Missouri Department of Higher Education had asked all the state's public universities to evaluate the usefulness of academic departments that awarded less than ten bachelor's, five master's and three Ph.D.'s every year.
Among the casualties are bachelor's and master's degrees in French and Spanish; master's and doctoral degrees in forestry and soil, environmental and atmospheric science, pharmacology and physiological medicine; and doctoral degrees in communication sciences and disorders and career and technical education.
It's not that the university will stop offering classes in all these areas; it's just that a few departments will be combined. Spanish and French, for example, will now be yoked together as the department of Romance languages (and, for the record, it was French that was underpopulated, not Spanish), and it will now be possible to get a Ph.D. from the department of forestry, soil, environmental and atmospheric science.
All this academic migration will take place over a period of several years. "Some of these degrees are not going to go away for a while because there are people in the pipeline," deputy provost Ken Dean told the Columbia Daily Tribune.
The state's Coordinating Board for Higher Education will look over (and, presumably approve) Mizzou's proposal at its February meeting.