The decision to close one-fifth of the degree programs at the University of Northern Iowa because of a budget crunch received final approval Wednesday from the state Board of Regents.
UNI Provost Gloria Gibson announced a handful of last-minute changes to the list of programs slated to close: a bachelor of arts in physics was added in place of a bachelor of science in physics. Minors in geography and theater education also staved off elimination. Those programs have been suspended.
In total, the board unanimously approved the closure of 58 majors, minors and graduate programs. All targeted degrees have had low numbers of graduates in recent years and account for about 2 percent of degrees awarded last year at UNI.
Gibson said popular courses in subjects such as geology would continue to be offered even though the major had been eliminated. Officials said students in affected programs would be allowed to graduate, though faculty have questioned the quality of instruction those students would receive.
The UNI Faculty Senate on Monday night voted to ask the board to delay the decision. But UNI President Ben Allen said Wednesday that postponing the vote would not add to the discussion, because officials had carefully considered the closures.