The University of Central Missouri has abandoned a plan to move arts and humanities into its College of Education, instead considering a different kind of reorganization.
Many professors who teach in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences had opposed the plan, which was touted as a cost-saving measure. The administration listened to the concerns students, staff and faculty voiced at several campus forums and decided to hold off on consolidating the colleges for now, Interim Provost Michael Godard said.
“There’s mixed kind of feelings about this across campus with our faculty even, but we just decided we didn’t want certain individuals to feel like they lost their college identity,” Godard said.
UCM now is looking at eliminating several department chairs within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Godard said it’ll still save the school money, but less than the $600,000 that would have been saved by consolidating four colleges into three. About 1,800 of the school’s 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
The restructuring is due to the state’s budget situation, which isn’t quite as dire as it was in February when the reorganization was initially proposed. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens proposed cutting $68 million from all of higher education earlier this year, but state lawmakers said they’d keep funding as it is and instead cap tuition rates.
Still, Godard warned, the budget situation could change, and without a reorganization, the only option would be to eliminate departments.
“We did have a 2.5 percent withholding at the beginning of this fiscal year,” Godard said. “So you take that into account, and it really puts us behind where we need to be. As we move into fiscal year 2019, we have no guarantees.”
Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.