YSU Considers More Program Cuts

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees approved a resolution outlining possible eliminations and other actions for courses and programs facing low enrollment.

The board held a special meeting Thursday evening to discuss the findings of a review of courses and programs based on enrollment and duplication at nearby institutions. The university is required by Ohio law to conduct the evaluation every five years.

Provost Brien Smith and Mike Sherman, vice president for institutional effectiveness, presented their findings and recommendations to trustees, which included the potential to sunset more courses and programs.

Of the 2,130 courses evaluated, 495 were found to be low-enrolled, according to YSU’s definition, the report states, and 179 could be consolidated, rotated or not offered in the future. Of the 179, 40 could be eliminated.

For undergraduate classes, fewer than 18 students enrolled is considered low-enrollment, Smith says, and 11 for graduate classes. Under-enrolled majors are 50 or fewer for undergraduates and 20 or fewer for graduates.

The evaluation found 41 low-enrolled undergraduate programs, and 30 programs have action-oriented steps recommended. Of the 24 low-enrolled graduate programs, 15 programs have action-oriented steps.

Out of the 41 undergraduate programs, 15 were recommended to be sunset or to have admission suspended and three to be eliminated. Out of the 24 low-enrolled graduate programs, eight are recommended to be sunset or to have admission suspended.

Outside of sunseting or eliminating the program or course, other possible courses of action include curriculum redesign, offering the program in collaboration with other institutions or merging with another program/course.

Specific courses and programs were not identified and no formal action has been taken, but the discussion will continue at the December meetings slated for Dec. 8 and 9.

The resolution approved Thursday is part of YSU’s efforts to optimize its academic program portfolio and to assure academic efficiency and effectiveness across programs, Trustee Chair John Jakubek says.

“The purpose of the reviews is to ensure that the courses, programs and majors that we are offering are viable, effective and relevant to careers and community needs,” Jakubek says. “It is through these regular reviews that faculty, department chairs, deans and other academic leaders are able to best respond to current and future challenges and opportunities facing YSU and all of higher education.”

The possible actions would not affect current students, Smith says, and all currently enrolled will be able to graduate within their programs.

“We want to make sure that our students have the opportunity to finish their studies. And we want to maintain that level of quality,” Smith says.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.