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For Whom the Bell Tolls

Programs await decision from Shonrock on discontinuance

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Jennifer Pendarvis

Ed Emmer, professor of philosophy, presents to the faculty senate how certain social science classes as well as the programs benefit future education and careers at the discontinuance hearing held Friday in Memorial Union Ballroom. Fellow social science faculty, Ellen Hansen, Deborah Gerish, and Karen Smith also came to support the programs and provide insight on the reasons they should be kept at Emporia State.

The threat of discontinuance is still looming over the heads of seven majors and programs at Emporia State.

Those programs that were recommended for discontinuance by David Cordle, provost, include the MS in Instructional Leadership, French and German Concentrations in Modern Languages, the BS in Information Resource Studies, MA in Teaching in Social Science, BA/BS in Social Science, the BA/BS in Physical Science, and the BS in Finance.

The hearings took place Feb. 6-7 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Here, department heads, professors, students and concerned parties for each program argued for the continuance of their program.

Mel Storm, chair the English department and professor of English, defended the French and German Concentrations in Modern Languages at the hearings. Storm pointed out that ESU has already given up on teaching Chinese, and if the French and German concentrations were to be discontinued, then only Spanish would remain. In Storm’s testimony, Storm said,

“The study of foreign languages has been and should remain an essential part of the ESU curriculum,” Storm said.

Students also had a voice in the hearings. Amanda Hill, senior social science major, spoke for the continuance of the social science programs at the hearings.

“It’s so important for us to have a social science program here because it adds so much,” Hill said. “I mean, there’s so many things that can come out of the social science program – a deeper understanding of yourself through philosophy, a better understanding of what’s going on today through history. There’s something beautiful about that to me.”

Any student in any program could have attended and spoke at the hearings if time permitted, as long as they contacted the program the week before the hearing, Houchins said.

A common point in each speaker’s argument was how little each program cost to ESU. Each one claimed the university would not save any money if their programs were discontinued, and that the importance of the subject heavily outweighed the cost and benefit.

The process of discontinuation started with a recommendation from KBOR. The university then sponsors hearings by the Academic Affairs Committee. On Tuesday, the AAC prepared a statement to present to the Faculty Senate. The statement explained that a vote will be taken at the next Faculty Senate meeting concerning the recommendation on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

The written recommendation must be forwarded to the provost and president of the university within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing.

“The process now proceeds through the Faculty Senate before any final decisions are made,” said Andrew Houchins, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee for Faculty Senate and professor of music.

The Faculty Senate will vote on the proposed program discontinuance and the recommendation will be forwarded to obey the policy on March 4th. When it is forwarded, President Michael Shonrock will make a decision on whether to continue a program or not.

If a program is discontinued, the ESU Policy Manual says that the program has a 3 year phase-out period that starts when Shonrock announces a date. Students enrolled in a discontinued program are encouraged to complete their program within the phase-out period. If it is impossible for a student to complete the program in the given time, then the university will make an effort to assist the student.

A decision from Shonrock has not yet been made regarding which programs will remain or be discontinued, but is expected in March.

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