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President announces results of grad program appeals

July 7, 2006

KALAMAZOO--After a four-week appeals process, Western Michigan University President Judith I. Bailey announced today that she will recommend that the WMU Board of Trustees approve closure of fewer than half the number of programs originally slated to close as the result of a yearlong, campus review of all of the University's graduate programs.

In a message to the campus community, Bailey announced her recommendations, which were based on the results of the review process and the findings of an appeals committee that has been working since the beginning of June to hear the appeals of 15 of 23 programs originally recommended for closure. Bailey said she will recommend that the WMU Board of Trustees approve the closure of 11 programs, including eight programs that chose not to appeal the original decisions as well as three that did appeal. The three are a doctoral program in comparative religion and master's-level programs in art and the teaching of geography.

In addition to recommending closure for those 11 programs, Bailey said, she will report to the board her decisions on 12 other programs, each of which had appealed the earlier closure recommendations. For those 12 programs, her recommendations fall into one of three options: continuation; continuation with conditions; or suspension to allow for time to reconfigure curricula and initiate program improvements.

"What turned the tide for the programs affected was the work of a fine appeals committee, which conducted its review in a thorough, and fair fashion," Bailey said, noting she also conducted her own follow-up review of the material available.

"That review reinforced my confidence in the outcomes and recommendations I am forwarding today," she said.

Bailey's recommendations to the board follows a Graduate Program Review that began last July and was shared with the campus community in the report, "Graduate Education at Western Michigan University: Our First Fifty Years and Strategic Priorities for the Future." The report was introduced at a meeting of the WMU Faculty Senate May 11. The appeals process was initiated by Bailey in late May.

Following the appeals process, the final recommendations on all 23 programs originally slated for closure are as follows:

Continuation of the doctoral programs in applied economics, clinical psychology, computer science and Spanish.

Continuation with conditions imposed for the doctoral program in statistics, a specialist program in educational leadership and the master's degree programs in socio-cultural foundations and industrial/organizational psychology. In addition, the master's programs in elementary school teaching and learning and teaching at the middle school level will also be recommended for continuation while the College of Education conducts a planned reorganization and curricular review.

Suspension of the doctoral program in public administration and the Master of Fine Arts degree in art, to allow each time for program reconfiguration and improvement.

Closure of 11 programs: doctoral programs in comparative religion and school psychology and a specialist program in school psychology; master's degree programs in applied sociology, art, biostatistics, molecular biotechnology, operations research, teaching of earth science, teaching of geography and teaching of music.

Students in the programs slated for closure will have the opportunity to complete their degrees. Those in doctoral programs will have up to seven years to finish their studies from the time they began their programs. Students at the master's level will have up to six years from their program start date to complete degrees.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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