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Dean Keller addresses budget cuts

BY MADISON PETERSEN | MARCH 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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Major changes will come soon to the University of Iowa graduate education.

Graduate College Dean John Keller addressed faculty and students on Tuesday night about the changes graduate programs will face after recent reductions in funding and lower enrollment rates.

“We need to innovate and fight to make our graduate schools more distinctive and better prepare our students to be more successful in the changing career climate,” he said.

Keller said the recovering economy is presenting major challenges to the Graduate College and many other government-funded graduate schools around the nation. He said government funding for education has decreased, particularly for graduate education.

Major changes will be announced and begin to happen very soon in the Graduate College after the final budget is announced and budget cuts are made.

Along with this, the school is also receiving less funding due to a drop in enrollment.

Because of the decreased funding — $700,000 less — serious changes will take place in UI graduate programs in the very near future, Keller said.

There will be more careful recruitment of students, he said, in addition to a reduction in the number of some programs that may be overpopulated and collaboration of some programs to make them more efficient.

The university has implemented over the past few years or plans to implement many new career-oriented graduate programs.

“My department is facing some serious upcoming changes,” said Shelly Campo, an associate professor of community & behavioral health. “We have new majors in public health being created that better fit the current job market, which is causing us to create new curriculums.”

“We are one of 64 prestigious [American Association Universities] certified universities in the nation,” Keller told the audience. “We need to fight to change our programs while still keeping this certification intact.”

The mission of the AAU is “to provide a forum for the development of implementation of institutional and national polices, in order to promote strong programs in academic research and scholarship in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education,” according to its website.

“We will have to revisit each of our graduate programs and evaluate their strength,” Keller said. “We currently have 76 certified programs, but we may have to lessen some of those Ph.D. degrees to master’s or cut some programs depending on the necessary degree of the major in our current economy.”

Many faculty will be affected by the upcoming changes in their programs and curriculum.

“Things need to change,” said Joe Coulter, a UI professor of community and behavioral health. “We need to innovate and begin offering more opportunities for the job market. In the end, it will all work out. There has always a tendency for academia to maintain its ivory status.”


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