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University Beat

USF Looks at Cutting Degrees

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USF Communications & Marketing

While USF's Board of Trustees has identified 17 degree programs it suggests the university system should drop, the news may not actually be that bad, as 15 of them are from the now-defunct USF Polytechnic in Lakeland.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the other two targeted programs are a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies offered by USF's Honors College and a doctorate in biology. The latter degree would be replaced by two new programs.

USF has built on a set of criteria issued by the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, to judge whether a degree program is productive. The university increased the state's criteria to hold itself to even stricter standards. For example: Where the Board of Governors sets the threshold for a productive bachelor's program as awarding an average of six degrees a year, USF raised its own standards to 12. Once those programs were identified, faculty started looking at the details. Being small didn't automatically mean a program would go.

The university will work with students in any programs targeted for elimination to help "teach them out."

According to the Times, USF provost Ralph Wilcox says the university has eliminated 22 degrees over the last four to five years, while adding new ones.

"This will be a continuing process in the same way we look to update our degree array to ensure that our students are getting cutting-edge, leading-edge opportunities," said Wilcox. "We recognize that some degree programs have had their time and don't necessarily bring the relevance to the marketplace."

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