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Why One University Wants to Drop Its English, Philosophy, and History Majors

March 21, 2018, 9:46 AM UTC

One university doesn’t think its students need to pursue English as a major anymore. Or philosophy, history, or Spanish.

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point has proposed dropping more than a dozen majors currently offered through its humanities and social sciences departments. The university would instead offer programs with “clear career pathways,” according to The Washington Post.

Facing a growing multi-million dollar deficit due to declining enrollment and lower tuition, the school’s administration hopes the changes will renew interest in the university. The Post suggests that the plan also aligns with the objectives of the Wisconsin state government, led by Republican Governor Scott Walker, which has sought to pivot the public university’s focus to acquiring job skills rather than studying liberal arts. The move comes amid an on-going, nationwide conversation about whether colleges and universities are adequately arming graduates with the kind of talent needed by employers who are increasingly focused on technology.

Students and faculty members at Stevens Point are largely not in favor of the plan. Students have planned a sit-in Wednesday to protest the changes. Called “Save Our Majors,” participants will reportedly deliver a list of demands and requests to the university upon its completion.

A full list of the cut and expanded programs are below.

The 13 majors that the university has proposed eliminating:

  • American studies
  • Art (but not graphic design)
  • English (other than English for teacher certification)
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geoscience
  • German
  • History (social science for teacher certification would continue)
  • Music literature
  • Philosophy
  • Political science
  • Sociology (social work major would continue)
  • Spanish

Proposed expansions:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Computer information systems
  • Conservation law enforcement
  • Finance
  • Fire science
  • Graphic design
  • Management
  • Marketing

New programs:

  • Aquaculture/aquaponics
  • Captive wildlife
  • Ecosystem design and remediation
  • Environmental engineering
  • Geographic information science
  • Master of business administration
  • Master of natural resources
  • Doctor of physical therapy