UW-Stevens Point to retain liberal arts majors

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point states programs proposed for discontinuation are off the table. Last March, the university planned to cut 13 majors.

According to a news release, Chancellor Bernie Patterson commended the shared governance process, which involves faculty, staff members and student leaders.

“I am pleased to report that the elimination of majors in Point Forward is off the table,” Patterson stated in a news release. “Working through our shared governance process has provided us opportunities to innovate as we restructure and retain majors, creating a new direction for UW-Stevens Point. We are committed to collaborating with faculty and staff members, the community and our regional partners to build programs that help our students succeed and our region and university to thrive.”

The announcement affirms programs considered for discontinuation will remain, as will tenured faculty positions in those areas. Budget reductions across campus from resignations and retirements helped the university address financial challenges.

Instead, curriculum will be updated as follows:
• French and German: These majors will be retained. World Languages and Literatures faculty anticipate partnering with colleagues at other UW institutions to offer these degrees in a collaborative format.
• Art BFA, 2D and 3D options: Faculty members in Art and Design and Interior Architecture have approved a new School of Design. It will include two new bachelor of fine arts degrees in graphic design and integrative studio practice, which will offer expertise in physical and digital multiple media.
• History: UW-Stevens Point will retain a history major with revised curriculum that strengthens the social science teaching option, partnering with the School of Education. A non-teaching option being developed by faculty will prepare graduates to integrate historical research, analysis and writing for various professions including public policy, nonprofit management, business and health care.
• Geography and geoscience: The university will combine the existing geography and geoscience majors to create a new geospatial science program focused on preparing graduates for careers that apply geospatial technologies to address social and environmental issues.

Additionally, new programs will be offered at UW-Stevens Point branch campuses in Wausau and Marshfield:
• Associate degrees in applied finance, health sciences, information science, environmental science and management, human services, leadership and project management
• Bachelor’s degrees in social work, business administration
• MBA in applied leadership and decision-making

On the main campus, five new programs are already being launched. These include approved majors in:
• Finance, marketing and management in the School of Business and Economics
• Master of Natural Resources in the College of Natural Resources
• Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in the School of Health Care Professions

“The liberal arts will be integrated across the curriculum at UW-Stevens Point,” Patterson said. “We will offer our students and the region an education that builds on our strengths and prepares graduates for success in their careers and in life.”

Financial challenges prompted the university to explore options for the future. The process has engaged faculty, staff and student leaders as well as the UW System to update curriculum and offerings in innovative, intentional ways, Patterson said.

“Our new direction has been crafted by many voices,” he said. “We have all listened and learned. I am grateful for the dialogue and look forward to collectively implementing these bold changes on behalf of our students and our community.”