Eliminating low-producing programs in Tennessee

Say goodbye to that data processing major at Austin Peay.  Jennifer Brooks writes from The Tennessean:

Tennessee colleges cut lesser majors as part of higher education reform
As Tennessee rolls out its higher education reforms, colleges and universities are taking a hard look at what they do well — and which courses and majors they can do without.

Last year, the state's higher education oversight authority terminated 37 programs at public institutions that weren't producing enough graduates to justify their existence and approved the creation of 10 new ones.

The speech pathology and audiology baccalaureate degree at Tennessee State? Terminated. Ditto for the data processing major at Austin Peay, French and Spanish degrees at the University of Memphis, and the associate degree in social services at Volunteer State Community College.

For many of the doomed programs, it boiled down to a popularity contest.

Programs that can't fill enough seats, or produce enough graduates, are routinely culled to make space for programs that can.

"It's probably the most disappointing experience you can have," said George Van Allen, president of Nashville State Community College, which saw its entrepreneurship and sign language interpretation programs terminated last month.

The state has begun requiring colleges and universities to evaluate which programs they do best, and the needs of the populations they serve, and to begin tailoring their course offerings to suit those strengths.

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