CLA report suggests more cuts at the U

In case you missed it:

University of Minnesota sociology department chief Chris Uggen tells MPR’s Tim Post why now is the time for the college to remake itself in the wake of cuts to the College of Liberal Arts — instead of just waiting for more reductions to occur:

“That’s the road to mediocrity. If we continue to do that, we will slide,” he said. “We have to make smart decisions and we have to get out of the current box of thinking that the structure is frozen.”

A recent report by the College of Liberal Arts itself says the U should reorganize the college and scale back its 60 academic programs. The report doesn’t recommend which programs should go.

Read more from Post’s article — and hear the audio — here.

  • It is worth reading this report carefully. At the same time that it recommends that CLA remake itself rather than wait for cuts from outside, it breaks down the ways that CLA has been cut much more than other colleges at the U, while providing 50% of undergraduate teaching. In other words, CLA is treated like a cash cow. Last year saw a reduction of 10% in faculty numbers, simply by the cancellation of searches for replacing departed faculty. At the heart of the recommendations is a national issue: are we going to have universities that are jumped-up vo-tech schools or are we going to have educational institutions that are animated by something other that utilitarianism or outcome metrics? The report is a challenge to the new president, whoever she or he will be.

  • Anonymous

    Simply put, the College of Liberal Arts has been starved financially over the past three years. Convincing data is presented that of all the colleges at the University they have been hit the hardest. And this college graduates about half of the undergrads at the U.

    See p. 40 (report pagination) of this down loadable pdf of the final report.
    link: http://images.cla.umn.edu/cla2015/CLA2015_Complete_FINAL.pdf

    The 2015 committee is to be congratulated for doing an excellent job of laying out our problems. Would that the administration of the University of Minnesota had done something like this long ago. As usual, this problem comes down to priorities and money. That things in CLA – our crown jewel – have deteriorated to such a state is a sad commentary on the present university administration.

    Let us hope that the next administration at the U is a clean break with the past. Leadership matters.