The Provost's committee on program changes has completed the final draft of its report (posted after the break), which is now making its way through the Faculty Senate and other venues for comment.
I'm not going to comment on this report at length right now, as I haven't had time to think it through. The committee was formed in part because the state is mandating that universities report on "low performing programs," meaning that those with low enrollment (<25 UG majors), few graduates (<6 per annum), or high cost (compared to peers). This process is also intended to help SIUC become more efficient. As the plan SIUC settles on could eventually result in multiple mergers, elimination of programs, etc., this is obviously an important matter, and I thought it appropriate to share this draft report as widely as possible to maximize faculty input and transparency.
An obvious problem with the process here, to my mind, is the idiocy of defining all and any small programs as "low performing". If we take that literally it will--to allude to my own department's plight--be hard to offer any language major other than Spanish. But that's not this committee's fault: it's the state's definition. And this report does suggest other ways to justify the existence of a given program, perhaps even a small one.
I am on the Faculty Senate committee that will be commenting on this report and will be happy to learn from comments made here.