Colleges dropping, adding programs actually helping future of NE Indiana

While some universities are deciding to end some programs, the addition of other programs should help meet the market needs of the entire region.

Posted: Nov 5, 2019 4:13 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2019 10:21 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - University of St. Francis says its dropping 15 programs at the end of the year, affecting about 30 students and 11 faculty members.

Manchester University is following suit, eliminating some faculty positions. Officials say it will impact some programs, although they haven't determined which ones.

Manchester University President David McFadden says students nowadays have a different mindset than they used to.

"Students today are first, job-focused," McFadden said. "Meaning that they look and ask where can I get the best return on my time and energy, and investment. Many of them see the trades or going straight into the workforce and other ways as the best way for that to happen."

That mindset has contributed to a declining student population. Some programs at these universities have less that 5 students, so even though it's not easy, St. Francis President Sister Elise Kriss said in a statement that it's these small programs being cut.

"Making decisions on academic programs is very difficult, but also necessary to address the current and future interests of USF students," Kriss said.

The President of the Independent Colleges of Indiana David Wentz says this is true of all private colleges. 

Wentz said, "As private colleges are dependent on tuition dollars and receive no direct state support, they must be both swift and flexible in keeping up with the demand for their academic offering."

So as demands for some programs like art history wains, the need for more health science programs increases. So universities are making the decision to help contribute to the job market and their students futures.

"Our mission is to graduate people of ability and conviction, people who have skills that they need, and values that lead them to give back to their communities. The intersections of that mission with market are changing," McFadden said.

A full list of the program changes at University of St. Francis can be found here.

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