EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the publication of this list, many faculty and staff have reached out to tell TCB that the enrollment numbers for the departments as reported by university administration is incorrect. We are continuing to report on this story and will update the numbers as soon as we confirm them.

An update to this story was published here.

On Tuesday afternoon, faculty, students and staff at UNCG all turned to their phones and computer screens as the email they’d been waiting for dropped in their inbox.

The message from Chancellor Frank Gilliam listed out 20 academic programs, from majors to minors to graduate programs, that were recommended to be cut.

Here’s the list as outlined in the email:

Undergraduate Majors (123 current students)

  • BA, Anthropology (68 current students in the major)
  • BA, Secondary Education in Geography (0 majors) (the other undergraduate Geography programs are not affected)
  • BA, Religious Studies (27 current students in the major)
  • BS and BA, Physics (44 current students in the major)
  • BS Physical Education, Teacher Education (K-12) (7 current students in the major)

(Please note that the minors in Islamic Studies and Jewish Studies, currently housed in Religious Studies, are not under consideration for discontinuation. If Physics remains on the list for discontinuation after the consultation period, the University will continue to offer the lower-division physics courses required for STEM majors.)  

Undergraduate Minors, Certificates, and Course Offerings (0 current students)

  • Chinese (34 minors)
  • Russian (7 minors)
  • Korean language courses
  • Editor’s note: According to faculty, the university doesn’t have a Korean minor and they pushed back on the fact that minors were included in the review. Like with religious studies, the university reported inaccurate data for the number of students enrolled in the language minors. The numbers published here have been updated for accuracy. Read more here.

Graduate Programs (71 current students)

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nursing (7 current students in the certificate)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Advanced Practice Foundations (Nursing) (5 current students in the certificate)
  • MA, Applied Geography (9 current students in the Applied Geography concentration)
  • MFA, Drama Concentration in Directing (0 current students in the Directing MFA) (Concentrations in Musical Direction for Musical Theatre, Theatre for Youth, and Design will continue)
  • MFA, Interior Architecture (3 current students in the MFA)
  • MA, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (7 current students in the MA)
  • MAT, Languages, Literatures and Cultures in Teaching (1 current student)
  • MA, Mathematics (all concentrations) (7 current students in the MA)
  • MEd, Special Education (8 current students in the MEd in Spec. Ed)
  • Dual Masters in Nursing Science and Business Administration (11 current students in the dual masters) (the stand-alone MBA and standalone MSN are not affected)
  • PhD, Communication Sciences and Disorders (13 current students in the PhD)
  • PhD, Computational Mathematics (added on Jan. 22)

In addition to recommendations for discontinuation, deans have recommended admissions pauses for the MFA in Drama Concentration in Acting and the PhD program in Social Work (offered jointly with NC A&T).

According to the email forwarded to TCB, the decisions were made by the university deans who used various metrics, many of which faculty said were faulty.

Next, Provost Debbie Storrs will make final recommendations to Chancellor Gilliam. Gilliam is expected to make final determinations on Feb. 1.

“These are only recommendations at this point,” Gilliam wrote in the email. “Once decisions are made on programs, we will make every effort to ease the transition for those affected by program discontinuations. In each program, all students in good standing will have the opportunity to complete their chosen studies at UNCG.”

In the next week, there will be several events in which faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members will be able to voice their opinions. The events are as follows:

  • Faculty Senate
    • 3-5 p.m., Jan. 10, EUC Auditorium (forum)
    • 3-5 p.m., Jan. 17, Alumni House (meeting)
    • 3-5 p.m., Jan. 24, Alumni House (*meeting without Chancellor or Provost)
    • 3-5 p.m., Jan. 31, Alumni House (meeting)
  • Student forum (open to students only) — 10:00-11:30 a.m., Jan. 19, EUC Auditorium
  • Campus-wide forum (open to students, faculty, and staff) — 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 23, EUC Auditorium
  • Alumni forum (open to alumni only) – 5:30-6:30 p.m., Jan. 23 (virtual meeting)
  • Graduate Council — 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 26, NIB 510
  • Undergraduate Curriculum Committee —  2-3:30 p.m., Jan. 26, NIB 510

“For those programs ultimately designated for discontinuation, the wind-down process will take years,” Gilliam wrote. “While we can’t know at this point precisely how that process will unfold, we do know that there will be no immediate changes to staffing or instruction in the affected programs. Any affected faculty and staff will have significant time to prepare for any transitions, and other opportunities within UNCG may be available to them.”

In a statement to TCB, the Greensboro Student Organization said that they don’t support the cuts.

“As students, we do not condone or support the discontinuation of any program at UNCG,” the statement read. “UNCG is a university that is meant to serve a diverse student body and, as such, should invest in all programs. Every program is a vital part of UNCG. We urge urge students and community members to attend upcoming forums to have their voices heard.”

How did we get here?

As TCB has been reporting for the past several months, the university has been undergoing an extensive academic program review brought upon, initially, by the chancellor’s assertion that UNCG was in a budget crisis.

But various experts, advocates, faculty and students have pointed out flaws in the process, alleging faulty data, misinformation, a lack of transparency and illegitimate reasoning.

Reporting by TCB outlined the relationship between UNCG and rpk Consulting Group, which was hired by the university to help guide the cuts. In the past, rpk has worked with various universities and colleges around the country, often slashing programs, leading to an enrollment drop at one school.

“We know that rpk is flawed,” said UNCG museum history graduate student Azariah Journey. “They destroyed WVU; they destroyed Emporia. They have a history of looking at departments as businesses instead of the incredible students that are in them.”

Read TCB‘s past reporting on the story at the links below:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story relied on data that incorrectly reported the number of Religious Studies majors as 4. The actual number is 27. The correction has been made; TCB regrets the error.

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