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Which programs could be cut at Western Illinois University

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As they await news of how deeply their budget might be cut by state funding reductions, WIU leaders are considering eliminating certain academic programs at the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.

WIU could lose $16 million under proposed cuts to state funding for institutions of higher education in Illinois.  That leaves colleges and universities considering all options for reducing their budgets, including tuition hikes.  At WIU, they're also considering eliminating programs that have drawn limited interest.

"All programs placed on review were required to have a plan to increase enrollment or enhance the value of the program for the following year," said a presentation explaining program reviews for WIU.  "(The) fiscal situation necessitates resources be directed to programs that have sufficient students to justify offering of courses."

WIU leaders considered the number of students in each academic program, the enrollment trend/patter over the past five years and the number of students enrolled in courses offered as part of the program.  They also considered whether any programs reviewed for possible elimination could overlap with another program, whether the cost to offer the program was high and whether there was some additional value - beyond enrollment numbers - for offering the program.

In a presentation offered Friday, February 20, 2015, WIU Provost Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson recommended possible consolidation of the broadcasting and journalism departments, consolidating the film program into the English department and reorganizing delivery of weekend classes, the instructional design and technology program, and how the university offers the MBA program.

Hawkinson identified 65 programs with low enrollment, and recommended 24 of those programs for elimination.  Programs initially recommended for elimination included 18 minors, as well as undergraduate majors in pre-architecture, pre-chemical engineering, pre-pharmacy, and instructional design and technology.   Graduate certificate programs for applied math and women's studies were also on the initial recommendation list.  Twelve minors were also recommended to be reviewed, as were undergraduate majors in women's studies, religious studies, bilingual education, and public health.  Graduate-level major in sociology was also recommended for review.

The bilingual/bicultural education program is the only major under review that is offered at the WIU Quad Cities campus according to WIU Public Information Specialist Alisha Barnett.  Entrepreneurship is the only minor offered at the QC campus that is on the list of those under review.  Other QC campus programs scheduled to be reviewed included professional writing, information systems and international business.