Program Rankings Could Be Used in Cuts

SOU report webASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon University could use research it conducted this summer to figure out what to cut to eliminate a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

SOU is currently in the middle of a retrenchment process, in which it is looking for ways to erase a $4 million budget gap. The shortfall is being blamed on lower student enrollment and lower state funding over the past several years.

In May, SOU conducted what it called the Academic Program Prioritization Report, in which it ranked every program from each department, listing which should be a high priority, and which should be changed or eliminated. SOU President Mary Cullinan said the report will come into play as the university goes through the retrenchment.

Each program was placed in one of five quintiles, with Quintile 1 categorized as “Enhance,” and Quintile 5 listed as “Restructure.” 33 programs were in Quintile 5, meaning they are recommended to be reorganized, combined with other programs, or removed. Many of those programs were minors, certificates and co-majors that are said to have low enrollment or low interest.

According to data provided by SOU, the university went through retrenchment in 2006. At that time the school eliminated 24 programs and laid off 22 faculty members.

SOU is in a 15 day comment period and is taking suggestions from students and faculty. A public forum will be held next November 11 at 3 p.m. at the Hannon Library.

Click here to see the full Academic Program Prioritization Report.