Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Limbaugh: Closing secondary ed needed to refocus

All enrolled students will be able to finish their degrees


Last updated 6/13/2013 at 2pm

The chancellor of Havre’s university said this morning he wants to address his decision to close the secondary education teachers programs at Montana State University-Northern before the public forum about Northern’s program prioritization review is held Friday.

Chancellor Jim Limbaugh said the decision was made after a long and careful review of programs in a six-level process that began last September, and that he reviewed — and included in his decision — recommendations by faculty and staff.

“I want people to know that this isn’t Limbaugh with a meat cleaver going after programs,” he said.

Limbaugh’s decisions on programs — including growing 19, adding three new programs and eliminating or putting a moratorium on 25 others, including the secondary education teaching programs, were released in a press conference last week.

In a message he sent this morning to faculty and staff of the university, which he forwarded to the Havre Daily News, he stressed that students in all programs to be placed in a moratorium or terminated, including secondary education teaching students, will be able to complete their degrees.

He notes that a new statewide focus on retention and completion of degrees — the Legislature this year approved basing part of university funding on each campus’ performance — also impacted the decisions.

Limbaugh said this morning that since the release of his decisions, some comments have been made publicly, and he wants to give some background for people before they attend the forum, set to start at 10 a.m. in the Hensler Auditorium in the Applied Technology Center at Northern.

“Facts and figures thrown out can be misleading … ,” he said, adding, “I understand that secondary education has been part of this school for a long time, but things change.”

In the press conference last week presenting the chancellor’s decisions, Christine Shearer-Cremean, dean of Northern’s College of Education, Arts and Sciences, and Nursing, said people need to avoid grouping the six parts of secondary education teaching programs together. Each program, whether it be English or industrial technology, needs to be looked at separately because each has its own distinct curriculum, she said.

She also said that new state standards in teaching certification would require a complete revision of the curriculums of the programs, the expense of which likely could not be justified with the low enrollment in each program.

In the message to faculty and staff, Limbaugh said that the issue with secondary education, and all programs, includes retention and graduation rates, but that was not the sole factor.

“Ultimately, I had to consider our ability to offer, on a regular basis, the scope and depth of courses necessary to prepare fully those students interested in teaching at the secondary level,” Limbaugh said in the emailed message. “After reviewing course cycles and competition from other institutions, I made the decision that MSUN — and its students — would be best served to focus its resources in areas where Northern would have a unique advantage.”

He said the enrollment in secondary education is low — 22 majors in the six programs and 28 premajors, who have stated an intent to major in the programs but have not yet met the requirements — and the graduation rates are low.

“The bottom line is that over the past 11 years, few students enter these programs and of those, even fewer actually complete the program,” Limbaugh wrote.

He lists data from Northern’s registrar office showing that, between 2002 and 2013, the secondary education-health and physical education has averaged seven graduates a year, English and social science broadfield have each averaged 2.5 graduates a year, industrial technology has averaged 1.7, general science has averaged one, and mathematics has averaged less than one.

For health and physical education and industrial technology, difficulty finding and keeping faculty also was a factor, as was the decision to grow the nonteaching health promotion program in place of HPE education, he wrote.

“I have a responsibility, to our students and to the residents of this region, to ensure that their tuition and tax dollars are being expended as efficiently as possible,” Limbaugh wrote in the emailed message. “Therefore, I ultimately based my decision on a decade’s worth of college completions by these programs, as outlined above, in relation to the resources being expended to provide these majors (e.g., difficulties finding faculty or the costs per student for faculty to produce the graduation rates cited).”

Online: Academic Council program prioritization review report: http://www.msun.edu/provost/assessment/docs/



Chancellor’s response: http://www.msun.edu/provost/assessment/docs/ChancellorDecisionMay2013.pdf


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2020

Rendered 04/10/2021 04:44