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Recommendation to Suspend Some WKU Academic Programs Faces First Vote on Friday


The faculty regent at Western Kentucky University says he expects a proposal to suspend some academic programs will pass an initial vote on Friday. 

A committee made up of faculty members has recommended the school eliminate 101 programs, although many have no students currently enrolled. 

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Dr. Claus Ernst said faculty he’s spoken to are largely in support of the recommendations.

“I think there’s a feeling that it could have been worse, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say faculty is happy. We’re all anxious about what the future will bring. Some programs will be cut even though they have some students in them, may not be a lot of students, but for any faculty member whose program is cut, that’s devastating.”

Administration at WKU has said no tenure or tenure track faculty member will lose their jobs, but Dr. Ernst says if a program is eliminated, some professors may choose to leave and non-tenured faculty could be let go. 

There have been no estimates on how much the cuts could save the university, but school leaders says the motivation behind the cuts was to tailor academic programs more toward students entering today’s workforce. 

The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Regents will vote on the proposal on Friday and final approval will be up to the full board at its May meeting.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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