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Northern chancellor wants to drop secondary ed

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HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — The chancellor at Montana State University-Northern is recommending that 25 of its programs be ended or placed under moratorium due to declining enrollment.

Faculty and staff started in September reviewing all 74 programs offered at Northern to "make sure that our programs are relevant to what the community and students need," said Chancellor James Limbaugh.

Limbaugh last week recommended growing 19 programs, maintaining 25, reducing or integrating four into other programs and placing a moratorium on or ending 25 programs.

"This is part of an overarching program to turn this institution into what you want it to be," Limbaugh said at a community forum in Havre on Friday.

Students in the programs that are ending or being placed under moratorium will be able to finish their degrees, but enrollment in programs under moratorium will be put on hold for up to three years while university officials decide whether to keep or drop them. The Montana Board of Regents must approve any changes.

The most debated of Limbaugh's recommendations would end the secondary education program for students who want to teach high school classes due to decreasing enrollment. The secondary education program — with specialties in physical education, science, English, social science and math — has graduated 167 students over the past 11 years, Limbaugh said, an average of less than 14 each year. Half of them have been in the physical education specialty.

Some faculty members urged Limbaugh to keep some of the secondary education programs, while all involved in the review agreed the math program — which was added in 2010 and has graduated only one student — be dropped.

Christine Shearer-Cremean, Dean of Northern's College of Education, Arts and Sciences, suggested considering each secondary education major separately.

Limbaugh also recommended dropping the industrial technology program, which has graduated just 19 students in the past 11 years.

None of the faculty will lose their jobs, but some might be moved to other positions, Limbaugh said.

He said he does not know how much money might be saved.

The review also considered growing areas with increasing interest or job potential, such as the new criminal justice degree, nursing, civil technology and the diesel, automotive and farm technology programs.

Limbaugh would like to see the school add an online degree in technical and professional writing, an undergraduate degree in rural studies and a degree in border studies.

The Board of Regents recently implemented a program that bases part of a university's state funding on its ability to retain students from their freshman to sophomore years and on the rate at which students graduate.

"I have to make sure that my resources are directed toward those programs that are able to move students through to their degree," Limbaugh said Tuesday.

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Online: http://www.msun.edu/provost/assessment/docs/ChancellorDecisionMay2013.pdf

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