ROCK HILL, S.C. – Reductions in state appropriations and related changes in market demands have led Winthrop University to suspend admission of new students into two of its 65 academic programs – the Bachelor of Arts in General Communication Disorders and the special Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA).
Tom Moore, vice president for academic affairs, said students already enrolled in the General Communication Disorders program will be able to finish their degrees, but the university has halted enrollment of any new students for Fall 2009 beyond those already admitted. Executives enrolled in the graduate business program also will finish their programs uninterrupted, with both the 2009 and 2010 cohorts graduating as planned with original course content.
Both programs, Moore said, have had small specialized enrollments that make them comparatively expensive to serve on a per student basis, especially in tight economic times. By deciding to suspend admissions rather than eliminate the programs outright, Moore said, Winthrop can consider reactivating them later if shifts in market demand warrant. Both programs combined currently involve fewer than 55 students, he added.
The EMBA program had been specially designed to meet the scheduling needs and expectations of working professionals, whose tuition generally was supported by their respective employing companies. Given the national economic downturn, fewer corporations are underwriting graduate degrees for employees these days, so there has been smaller demand for the special version of the program. Winthrop will continue offering the evening MBA program, as well as a weekend option and accelerated course offerings, for students interested in pursuing those opportunities individually.
Students applying or currently enrolled in both programs have been informed of the suspensions and are receiving special advisory services from Winthrop to help them meet their educational goals, Moore said.
The move is part of Winthrop’s response to a reduction of almost $6 million (27 percent) in its state appropriations since this time last year. The university already has made millions of dollars in other operational changes, including reductions in energy costs, suspension of various public outreach programs and a mandatory nine days of unpaid furlough for employees since the first of the year.
In announcing the changes in a campus-wide e-mail, President Anthony DiGiorgio noted that these are the “only two changes in degree offerings” planned for the 2009-2010 academic year, adding that “no permanent member of the Winthrop community is expected to be displaced by these program suspensions, as their services can be utilized in related program areas, while freeing fiscal resources previously utilized for temporary/part-time faculty in those colleges.”