Saturday, February 01, 2014

University Ditches Math Major

I wonder how they chose the programs to cut.  If it was strictly a dollar issue, that seems reasonable:
Franklin Pierce University said Wednesday it will stop offering degrees in six academic programs, effective immediately.

The university will no longer offer majors or minors in American studies, theater and dance, graphic communications, fine arts, math, and arts management.

The linked article states that medical-related majors are very popular at the school. 

Here's the school's web page showing current majorsHere are their graduate programs.


Anonymous said...

I find the comments on the linked article interesting. Four of five are up in arms about the arts being cut. One repeats an old canard about teaching arts being essential for teaching creativity (as though Hamilton, Newton, and Boltzmann weren't creative- they merely developed entirely new ways of looking at the universe; nothing creative there at all).

I'd guess they eliminated programs based solely on number of majors- beancounters run everything. In particular, the elimination of a math major seems short-sighted to me: once you get done offering all the courses you normally offer as service courses (the full calc series, diff eq, linear algebra, statistics) and those courses which greatly benefit those in other fields (numerical analysis, group theory, basic discrete mathematics), you are only about three courses (analysis, abstract algebra) from offering a major. The additional faculty requirements to maintain the major seem minimal. (A similar argument may apply to theater or fine art- there is certainly merit to offering a range of courses in these disciplines for the general student body. I do not have enough experience with these programs to know how much extra would be needed to complete a major- it would seem not to be all that large).

Of course, this is a college which offers an environmental science major but a quick review of their catalog indicates no rigorous thermodynamics course. I am not sure how that works; I have my doubts that it does. It would not surprise me if such narrow focus is commonplace: they only consider the true service courses as essential. In this case, even linear algebra may get dumped if not enough other majors push to maintain it.

PeggyU said...

^ Seems to me, given that, that it would be sensible to offer degrees in applied mathematics, rather than drop the major altogether.