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"Low Producing" programs, common core on TBR agenda this week

12/10/2002
December 10, 2002

Tennessee Board of Regents staff will recommend that the TBR phase out 20 "low producing" programs when the board convenes this Thursday and Friday.

Although 11 of Austin Peay's programs were categorized as low producers—defined as programs producing fewer than 10 graduates per year over the last five years—only two programs and one concentration would be eliminated.

The concentration in data processing, offered as part of the associate degree program at the Center @ Fort Campbell, the MA Ed. in elementary education and the MA Ed. in health and physical education would be phased out if the proposal were approved.

Art and foreign languages, though listed among the low-producing programs, were judged as "central to the University's mission" and would continue despite a limited number of graduates.

Medical technology, with an average of nine graduates per year, also would continue, in part because of the growing need for medical technologists in the area. That program increased from six students to 14 students in 2002.

Austin Peay's master's degree program in communication arts also is seeing a rise in enrollment, particularly with the addition of online courses. That program also would continue.

Engineering technology, which has averaged nine graduates a year over the last five years, would continue at present but be closely monitored.

Radiologic technology, with an average of six graduates, will be modified to include an ultrasound specialty.

The MS in biology, with a five-year average of three graduates per year, would be continued but modified to include concentrations.

Geology would be consolidated with geography to form a geosciences program.

All the proposed changes are part of the "Defining Our Future" effort launched last year.

"THEC identified 173 low-producing programs at the system's six universities," says APSU President Sherry Hoppe. "We had 11. We had the opportunity to continue the programs, modify them, consolidate them or discontinue them.

"We asked an internal committee to review the programs and make recommendations. Those recommendations then went before the academic and deans councils for action."

The recommendations from the dean and academic counsels were approved by Dr. Hoppe.

In addition to considering programmatic changes, the board will review a proposal to create a common 41-hour core at the freshman and sophomore levels at all TBR institutions, a move to smooth transfer from one school to another.

Under the revised core, students would earn the following credits in their first two years:

Humanities and/or Fine Arts - 9 hours
Social/Behavioral Sciences - 6 hours
History - 6 hours
Natural Sciences - 8 hours
Mathematics - 3 hours

The new lower division general education core replaces the current 32-hour minimum degree requirement.

Proposals will be presented to the TBR committees on Thursday. The full board will act Friday.