For reasons ranging from lack of enrollment or instructors to budget cuts, some degree programs at Emporia State have had to be suspended or discontinued altogether. The unexpected changes have some upperclassmen and new students to adjust.
The digital audio recording degree is one program that has been suspended. Although students who were already in digital audio classes have the opportunity to complete their degree, the department of music is not currently admitting new students into the program.
Kaiden Thompson, freshman vocal performance major, came to ESU because of the digital audio recording program. An aspiring music producer since he was fifteen, Thompson said that while looking for schools in Kansas with this program, he had been excited by what ESU’s program, specifically, had to offer.
Despite enrolling in digital audio classes in March while still attending Sacred Heart High School in Salina, Thompson was unable to enter the program this fall when he came to ESU.
He said his adviser informed him that the digital audio program had been suspended at the beginning of the semester, due to low enrollment in the program. Instead, he became a vocal performance major.
“I feel like I just got thrown into something else, and digital audio was the reason I came to ESU,” Thompson said. “I do feel like I could have known earlier.”
Andrew Houchins, professor of music and former digital audio instructor, said the program was suspended but not discontinued, and it could still be reinstated by the provost.
David Cordle, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said he knew there had been a discussion between the provost office and academic departments over what a program suspension would mean for students in each degree and concentration. It was decided that current students could finish their program but no new students would be admitted into those programs until the suspension was lifted.
“We still have a number of students moving through the program,” Houchins said. “Due to budget and funding decisions, some things got moved around, creating difficulties.”
Thompson said if there is a possibility for the program to be reinstated, then he is “on full board.” He has already been spreading the word about the degree on his own.
“I’ve been trying to get more people interested in the digital audio program,” Thompson said. “I’d like to get back to taking those classes. I feel like I’m pretty clueless with everything until the digital audio program starts up again.”
Both Thompson and Houchins said the details of the possible reinstatement of the digital audio program are still vague right now.
“I was just recently told by the provost to work with my chair and dean on a proposal and investigate options to possibly get things worked out,” Houchins said.
Cordle said a part of the consideration has to do with enrollment numbers and the graduate rate from each program.
“(The) Kansas Board of Regents asks universities to take a hard look at degree programs that maintain enrollment below certain thresholds,” Cordle said. “But that isn’t the entire consideration. We look at factors that go beyond numbers such as the importance of the program in question to the university as a whole, the quality of the program and the need for the program beyond the university.”
Each academic department, Cordle said, is “vital to the decision process.”
“Our response to KBOR has to address the issues of the numbers,” Cordle said. “But we can also point to factors beyond the numbers in our response of what we would like to do. It’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality.”
While Thompson was not able to enter the program that drew him to ESU, some students who have been at ESU for a few years found their degree program had been dropped with no chance to complete what they had already started.
While Thompson was not able to enter the program that drew him to ESU, some students who have already been at ESU for a few years saw their degree program get dropped with no way for them to complete it.
This happened to students enrolled in finance classes, who were not able to finish the program at all due to a lack of instructors. Adam Just, senior marketing major, was a finance major until the end of the fall 2012 semester, when he was told by his adviser via email that the degree program and all finance classes had been discontinued.
Just said he was not informed why the program had been cut at first. When he asked his adviser, he was told that the program did not have any instructors to teach the classes.
“The transition was rough because I changed my major first to accounting, which didn’t work out, and now I’m in marketing,” Just said.
Just said he was supposed to graduate in May 2014, but now he will have to take classes for an extra semester to graduate from the marketing program.