By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
Due to declining enrollments, the Fairmont State University Board of Governors voted unanimously at Thursday’s board meeting to eliminate two programs of study.
Effective the fall semester of 2014, students at FSU will no longer have the option to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in French or a Bachelor of Arts in French Education.
The Higher Education Policy Commission placed the programs on probation in 2009 due to low productivity. Despite efforts made by faculty and staff at FSU to generate interest in the programs, enrollment has not increased.
“We cannot stimulate students to enroll in this program, so we feel that it is our due diligence to honor what the HEPC is recommending,” provost Dr. Christina Lavorata said.
Currently, there are three senior students and one junior student who are working toward completing a major in the French program, while two seniors and one junior are pursuing a minor. There is one senior enrolled in the French education program.
All students presently enrolled in the programs will be afforded the opportunity to complete their degrees. While seeking degrees in those programs will soon no longer be an option, courses in French will still be offered at FSU for students to meet the foreign language requirement for Bachelor of Arts degrees.
The decision to close programs is not an easy one, but university officials said that taking such measures is one way to effectively manage resources, especially as state budget cuts continue to hinder higher education institutions.
“Higher education receives 10.8 percent of the whole state budget, but last year it absorbed over 44 percent of the cuts,” FSU President Dr. Maria Rose said. “There has to be a stopping point somewhere, and it cannot be increasing tuition and fees constantly.”
In addition to the French programs, two other programs of study are currently under review, but no recommendations regarding the future of those programs have been made, board member John Myers said.
While some programs are facing closure, though, another will soon be establishing a presence on FSU’s campus.
“We received official approval from the Higher Learning Commission on Tuesday to offer our master’s in architecture,” Rose said. “It’s been a long process, but we’re thrilled to get that official notification from the HLC.”
In other business:
• Fairmont State’s winter commencement will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Feaster Center, and a reception will follow in the Falcon Center. Live streaming of the ceremony will also be available at http://www.fairmontstate.edu/livegraduation.
• Will Armistead, executive director of the Fairmont State Foundation, informed the board that as of Nov. 30, the foundation’s assets have exceeded $20 million for the first time in the foundation’s history.
• Fairmont State will host the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Breakfast at 8 a.m. Jan. 3, 2014, in Colebank Gym.
• The next board of governors meeting will be held on Feb. 13, 2014.
Email Kaylyn Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.