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Dive Brief:

  • A petition has emerged to save Dickinson State University art majors as the president of the North Dakota public college looks to cut its academic programs.
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition has attracted 430 signatures. It states that the “arts serve as an important tool for learning, teaching, and communicating. Not only would these proposed changes take away educational opportunities from North Dakotans, they would be a detriment to the entire community.”
  • Dickinson State also intends to lay off a yet-to-be-determined number of tenured faculty to resolve a projected $1 million deficit, drawing concerns from longtime professors

Dive Insight:

Dickinson State’s president, Stephen Easton, has said that the public college is not in financial crisis, but his plans intend to avert one. 

Easton is pressing faculty leaders to develop proposed cuts to programs and instructors but has said the administration will move forward without them if they decline to help.

The university’s theater and music programs are potentially on the chopping block. 

Four students are enrolled as theater majors for fall 2023, according to data the university provided Higher Ed Dive. Three students are music majors, and eight are music education majors, according to the data. 

Officials will decide on faculty cuts toward the end of September, Easton has said. North Dakota University System policy requires that tenured faculty be given a year’s notice if they are being laid off due to low enrollment in programs.

Several other public colleges are looking to trim costs in the face of budget shortfalls. 

West Virginia University has grabbed headlines as the public flagship seeks to shed nearly three dozen academic programs. Students rallied on the campus Monday against President E. Gordon Gee’s austerity proposal.

Two institutions in the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Parkside and UW-Platteville, have also recently forecasted a combined budget hole of about $15 million.