Across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), schools are making decisions to help fight the financial challenges higher education institutions face.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) President Michael Driscoll announced “restructuring” for the university which includes combining colleges and potentially discontinuing majors. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the changes would take effect in fall 2021.
The Post-Gazette reported that other academic college and program restructuring is not finalized, but some programs and departments will be merged, discontinued or placed into a moratorium.
Though this seems inconvenient for students currently attending IUP to study journalism, IUP is offering the students “teach out” plans to finish their degrees.
“For any students in programs that may be discontinued, we pledge to develop ‘teach out’ plans to allow them to finish their IUP degrees with the quality educational experiences we have promised to them,” Driscoll said in a statement, according to the Post-Gazette.
IUP officials said they will also invest in some areas, primarily STEM fields, and will base programs on strength and student/employer demand.
Mariama Mansaray started a petition on change.org calling for abandonment of the university potentially eliminating the department. Mansaray is encouraging the ready-made solution to merge the Journalism & Public Relations Department with the Communications Media Department.
“This merger would address a number of admittedly crucial issues, such as improving faculty-to-student ratios, enhancing the economic efficiency of the new department, ensuring an increase in student enrollment, and vastly elevating the entire experience of students in this combined and comprehensive course of study,” Mansaray said in the petition’s description.
Officials must remember to keep the students at the top of their priorities. In a time in which journalists are so needed in society, it is a poor choice to reduce or cut journalism programs.