Recalibrating to higher education's new normal

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thursday was a significant day for Southern Oregon University. We made a tough decision to eliminate or restructure some of our academic programs. In academic-speak, this action is termed retrenchment. In business-speak, the process is called restructuring or right-sizing.

Simply put, we will create a plan that involves cutting programs in low demand in order to invest in programs that attract students and help retain them to graduation. Our goal is to serve students as effectively as possible and ensure a vibrant, sustainable future for our university.

No one wants to see programs or the dedicated instructors who teach them go away. However, SOU is not alone as we align priorities with scarce resources. Nationally, public universities face revenue challenges unlike any in the past. Years of reduced state funding force public universities to put a larger share of costs on students in the form of increased tuition. Students pay more, work more jobs, borrow more, and sometimes choose between buying a textbook and buying groceries. Some choose not to go to college at all, making a decision that will affect their whole lives and those of their families.

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