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Carroll College Board of Trustees approves major proposed cuts

Posted at 8:40 AM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 10:40:32-05
Carroll College
The Carroll College campus in Helena (MTN News file photo)

HELENA – Carroll College leaders have detailed plans to reorganize their programs – including eliminating some majors – as part of what they are calling a historic plan for growth.

The college’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a set of 17 recommendations on program prioritization, at the end of a two-day meeting in Helena. Carroll President John Cech made the recommendations after a monthslong planning process.

“It’s really about positioning us for success in the future,” said Cech.

As part of the reorganization, Carroll will discontinue five academic majors: classical studies, ethics and value studies, engineering science, environmental outreach and interpretation and environmental policy and project management.

Three other majors – public relations, environmental science and secondary education – will be restructured.

Ten minors will be discontinued: anthropology, arts management and administration, classical studies, economics, European studies, Latin American studies, music, public relations, social media and TV production. The college will also eliminate its certificate programs in geographic information systems, project management and social media, along with the associate degree of arts in English.

The program changes will take place over the next three years. Cech said they will affect around 39 freshmen and sophomores and 39 juniors.

“We will begin immediately with the programs that are going to be sunsetted, contacting the students and assuring the students that anyone who has declared a major in these programs or a minor will be able to complete them,” he said.

Any student who is currently in one of those programs will be assigned a special adviser, to help them get the guidance and courses they need to graduate on time.

As part of the restructuring, eight non-tenured faculty positions and seven other staff positions will be eliminated.

“We’re working with everyone involved in a very compassionate and caring way, to help them with that transition as it takes place,” Cech said.

Cech recommended expanding graduate and professional programs, including the creation of a School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Leaders will also explore expanding pre-medicine and nursing programs, and possibly adding graduate degrees in areas like social work, genetic counseling and physician assistant studies.

The plan also calls for reorganizing some departments to focus on student success and retention, including the creation of a “One Stop Student Center” at O’Connell Hall.

Monsignor Kevin O’Neill, who chairs the board, said the program planning process has relied on input from every group involved with Carroll.

“It’s admirable that so many invested themselves in the process: students, faculty, staff, administration and even the board itself,” he said.

He said that cooperation will remain crucial as the reorganization is implemented.

“I would just like to express my gratitude, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, to all who made this such a fruitful labor of stewardship,” O’Neill said.

Cech told MTN last month there were about 1,350 students currently enrolled at Carroll. He said enrollment is a challenge institutions across the country are dealing with, and that it is a factor in many college and universities conducting this type of program prioritization effort.

He pointed to a study that found 60% of private higher education institutions nationwide are involved in some form of program planning, along with 50% of public institutions.