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UNC Greensboro to announce program cut recommendations this week

Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom stands outside the Elliott University Center in the center of UNC Greensboro's campus Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 in Greensboro, N.C. A uniquely UNCG tradition, students leave gifts, especially apples for good luck, around the start of the semester and exam time.
Lynn Hey
The university's chancellor and provost will announce department deans' recommendations for the cuts Tuesday.

Administrators at UNC Greensboro are expected to make a key announcement Tuesday that will impact what academic programs and majors may be on the chopping block.

Deans from the School of Nursing, Education, Health and Human Science, College of Visual and Performing Arts and College of Arts and Science have been reviewing their programs for the past three months, using feedback from their department chairs and faculty committees. Their mandate is to recommend possible program and major cuts.

University of North Carolina Greensboro Chancellor Frank Gilliam talks about how UNC Greensboro is facing the highest budget cuts in the UNC System due to a loss in student enrollment Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023 in Greensboro, NC.
Lynn Hey
Chancellor Franklin Gilliam will make the final decision about which programs to cut.

Chancellor Franklin Gilliam will share the recommendations from those department deans on Tuesday, and then make final decisions about which programs to cut in about a month. He said it will be based on a variety of factors, including the labor market, student demand and the university’s mission to provide accessibility.

“We are and have historically been a university that has placed a great deal of importance on access,” Gilliam told WUNC in an interview last week. “ ... whether it's to first (generation), minority students, LGBTQ students. So, for us, access occurs across many dimensions, and we intend to preserve that.”

The APR process started in late 2022, after UNCG experienced several years of enrollment declines and accompanying revenue losses.

The threat of cutting programs has been met with criticism from various groups, including UNCG students, faculty and alumni, and also stakeholders within the UNC System and Greensboro community.

Community members have held protests on campus and nearly 4,000 people signed a petition to stop the program review, but to no avail. Those that signed the petition against the APR said that very same process goes directly against the university’s mission and value of inclusivity.

A UNC-Greensboro student holds a cardboard sign that says profits over people is a zero sum game. Another sign beside them reads UNC Greed with green dollar sign symbols.
Brianna Atkinson
A student holds a sign while walking to UNC-Greensboro's Alumni House during a Nov. 16 protest on campus.

When asked if UNCG will still be a place that can serve all students after the cuts, Gilliam said, “No school serves all students, all student interests and demands.”

“What we try to do is provide the highest quality education possible,” Gilliam said. “You can’t be 'everything, everywhere, all at once.' And so, we’re having to decide where we’re going to be excellent and we’ll make sure that fits with our core values.”

Gilliam said the APR is a best practice that allows the university to examine if it's meeting the current needs of students.

“The question that people ask today is, 'Can I get a job?'” Gilliam said. “Students want to know ‘Where are my advantages going to be for the labor market?’ (This university) didn’t create that. The world changes, things change and you need to respond to them.”

Given that, he doesn’t think cutting programs will turn prospective students away from attending the university.

“The fields typically where there is consideration for deeper examination are fields where there aren’t very many students,” he said. “... Student demand fluctuates and varies across time. (Some majors) become less popular at your particular school.”

He noted that even if a degree is discontinued, it doesn’t mean the university will stop offering instruction in that subject. Those classes could potentially be added on to the general education curriculum.

Before Gilliam makes his final decision of which programs to cut, the university is holding several open forums for the campus community to share their thoughts.

The first is a student forum with Gilliam and Provost Debbie Storrs this Friday. Other forums including a campus-wide, alumni and faculty senate meeting, will be held next week.

A schedule of the open forum and faculty senate meetings. The first open forum is for students on Jan. 19.
UNC Greensboro
A schedule of the open forum and faculty senate meetings. The first open forum is for students on Jan. 19.

Brianna Atkinson is WUNC’s 2024 Fletcher Fellow and covers higher education in partnership with Open Campus.
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