YSU Budget Cuts

YSU Identifies 26 Programs to Sunset

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Just hours before a planned student rally Tuesday to protest proposed program cuts at Youngstown State University, the administration officially identified 26 programs to be sunset as part of its retrenchment efforts in a message to the campus community.

YSU officials last week shared intentions with members of the YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association – the faculty union at the university – to begin the process of retrenchment after the university reported record-low enrollment for fall semester. Full-time equivalent student enrollments are down 7.3% from fall 2020 and revenues from fees and tuition are down $2.6 million from the same period last year.

The decision to begin the retrenchment process, as outlined in Article 13 of the collective bargaining agreement between the university and members of YSU-OEA, “was made following a deep examination with extensive consultation and assessment of the 145 academic programs on campus through the Academic Program Enhancement and Effectiveness initiative,” Brien N. Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in the statement Tuesday.

“Faculty worked with chairs and deans, starting in October 2020, to consider the data, ask hard questions, consider tough decisions, and reflect on how each program is aligned with our mission and vision,” he continued. “From there, as part of APEEI and departmental review, 26 programs were identified to be sunset and the list was shared with the campus community in June 2021.”

Last Thursday, the university provided YSU-OEA its preliminary report on the departments in which retrenchment should occur and asked the union to put forward four members to participate on a joint committee. The following day, chairs of the departments that contain the programs to be sunset were provided the preliminary report and information regarding next steps in regard to these programs.

The university identified eight associate degree programs, 12 bachelor’s degree programs and six master’s degree programs to be sunset, meaning that no new students would be accepted into the programs:  

Associate’s Level 

  • Electric utility technology – 11 current students
  • Medical laboratory technology – five current students 
  • Emergency medical services – one current student 
  • Dietetic technician – no current students
  • Computer information systems A – no current students
  • Medical assisting technology – three current students 
  • Drafting and design technology – no current students
  • Social services technology – no current students

Bachelor’s Level 

  • Gerontology – no current students 
  • Italian education – three current students
  • Italian – two current students 
  • Manufacturing engineering – seven current students 
  • Religious studies – four current students  
  • Music theory – one current student 
  • Music history and literature – no current students 
  • Family and consumer studies – two current students 
  • Computer information systems B – 12 current students
  • Dance management – six current students  
  • French – no current students  
  • Art History – no current students 

Master’s Level 

  • Music history and literature – no current students 
  • Art education – no current students
  • American studies – seven current students
  • Interdisciplinary visual arts – two current students 
  • Gerontology – nine current students
  • Creative writing – nine current students 

“When a program is designated to be sunset, that means that we will not accept any new students into the program,” Smith said. “However, we remain committed to the success of the students currently in the programs to complete a degree.” 

By Friday, Nov. 5, departments must submit objections to Smith, chairman of the joint committee. While never easy to enact such changes, “this type of self-analysis of YSU is healthy and necessary as we continue to make deliberate, data-informed decisions to support a sustainable future” for YSU, he said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.