By HDN Staff
It looks like MSU-Northern might have to play by different rules for program review than other campuses of the university system.
In its first draft of recommendations for the review mandated by the Board of Regents and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE), Northern recommended retention of programs which failed the graduation rate criteria. The recommendations included reasons such as centrality to mission, need of the programs for teacher certification, and relatively low costs of programs.
This draft failed, and in its current recommendation, only 11 of 65 programs reviewed were retained for reasons other than meeting the graduation criteria or newness of the program.
In the recommendation for review of University of Montana-Missoula programs, already approved by the Board of Regents, 19 of 31 programs were retained for reasons other than graduation rates or newness of the program.
The UM-Missoula chemistry major, which has averaged 1.4 graduates instead of the required 5, was kept because it is needed for endorsement in the field of chemistry. A similar argument citing the need of programs for teacher certification failed for four of the programs in the college of arts and sciences at Northern.
Many of these programs bring students to and produce graduates from Northern. This creates benefits for both the Havre community and for the state.
Many community members value the university highly and have gone to bat for it before. That's not limited to just this town, either.
At the Math Contest at Northern this week, teachers from as far away as Belt to Whitewater, Saco to North Toole County put their signature on documents saying Northern should keep its math program.
That's one of the programs that went from "retain" to "eliminate" in the university's recommendations. Perhaps the value and productivity of Northern's curriculum should be re-re-evaluated before the regents come to their decision about program review later this spring.