IUP Announces Details of IUP NextGen Planning

Posted on 10/28/2020 11:18:54 AM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has released additional details about the restructuring of its six academic colleges and academic programs, part of the IUP NextGen plan.

IUP President Michael Driscoll announced the foundations of IUP NextGen—designed to create a stronger, more student-centered university—on October 14. This plan will go into effect for fall 2021.

“At its core, IUP NextGen is about redefining the way that we serve our students,” Driscoll said. “We will focus on programs that reflect student and marketplace demands, and we will prioritize and resource what we do especially well, providing our students with unique experiences that they cannot get anywhere else. This work will help our students achieve success throughout their lifetime while addressing our critical need to create a stronger and more financially stable IUP for now, and for the future,” Driscoll said.

IUP’s colleges would go from six to five with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Fine Arts coming together for a new college that would more appropriately blend humanities, social sciences and fine arts.

“Since our announcement, we have heard passionate support for programs in these colleges,” Driscoll said. “We share that sentiment. This merger reflects our ongoing commitment to sustain the fine arts, social sciences, or humanities in challenging times— we believe in the value of the degree programs and their importance for all of our students through our general education core—and they greatly enrich our university and greater community.

“A new college with a more logical and manageable portfolio of majors and programs strengthens every program and provides more opportunities for collaboration and innovation,” Driscoll said.

This new college, which has not yet been named, will include the following departments: Art and Design; Asian Studies; English; Foreign Languages; History; Music; Philosophy and Religious Studies; Political Science; and Theatre. The departments of Economics, Anthropology, and Geography and Regional Planning, currently in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will move to other colleges.

Names of the colleges have not been finalized; some current names may change during the reorganization.

A complete listing of majors and programs in the new college structure is available on the Academic Restructuring Plans webpage. Discussions to refine the reorganization will continue. An overview of the college structure includes:

  • The Eberly College of Business and Information Technology will include the departments of Accounting; Business master’s and PhD programs; Economics and Finance (which will include the Department of Economics, currently in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences), Finance, and Management Information Systems and Information Systems; Management, including Hospitality Management (currently in the College of Health and Human Services); and Marketing, including Fashion Merchandising (currently in the College of Health and Human Services).

  • The College of Education and Communications will include the departments of Adult and Community Education; Center for Vocational Personnel Preparation; Early Childhood and Special Education; Communication Disorders, Special Education, and Disability Services; Communications Media, which will include the Journalism and Public Relations program, currently in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Counseling; Developmental Studies; Professional Studies in Education; and Student Affairs in Higher Education.

  • The College of Health and Human Services will include the Academy of Culinary Arts; Public Health; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Food and Nutrition; Health Services and Employment Relations; Kinesiology, Health and Sport Science; Nursing and Allied Health; Psychology (currently in the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics); and Sociology.

  • The John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will continue to include its current departments of Biology; Chemistry and Physics; Geoscience; and Mathematical and Computer Sciences. The Department of Psychology will move to the College of Health and Human Services. Two departments from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences will join the Kopchick College: Anthropology and Geography and Regional Planning; Geography and Regional Planning will merge with the Kopchick College’s Department of Geoscience. The Department of Safety Sciences, currently in the College of Health and Human Services, also will join the Kopchick College. Information Technology and Management Information Systems, currently in the Eberly College, will join the Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department. The Kopchick College also will continue to include these programs: Environmental Engineering, Natural Science pre-physician assistant; Natural Sciences pre-physical therapy; and Natural Sciences.

Educator preparation programs will include a number of new measures; most notably consolidating IUP’s 14 different programs that now lead to the bachelor of science in education degree, and expanding the professional education sequence to allow teacher certification as an option in those majors.

“IUP remains committed to the disciplines and the college that are our legacy: Education,” Driscoll said. “IUP is proud of its heritage and its leadership in preparing future educators for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond.

“The innovations in the IUP NextGen plan are part of our ongoing commitment to training educators of the future. It is our intention that IUP continues to be the institution of choice for teacher education by reshaping secondary and discipline specific programs and increasing access to teacher certification for a more diverse teaching workforce,” he said.

The IUP NextGen plan also will: 

  • Provide our students with the tools and experiences to be champions for inclusion, diversity, and equity and an appreciation for social responsibility;

  • Continue to stabilize and strengthen IUP’s School of Graduate Studies and Research, including support for graduate students;

  • Combine IUP’s six different pre-law programs into two—one offered through the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the College of Health and Human Services, and the other offered by the Department of Political Science in the new merged College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Fine Arts;

  • Create new workforce realignments in the University Libraries that reflect a smaller student body and the changing look and mission of university libraries everywhere in academia;

  • Maintain the current structure of the Cook Honors College, while exploring the expansion of the Honors College experience into a second honors college with a science and math emphasis;

  • Maintain and refine IUP’s University College as an important part of IUP’s commitment to student success, using data and continued analysis of the program to build its future.

Overall, the IUP NextGen plan is a strategic and deliberate realignment of programs to create a more streamlined educational experience for students, without losing the quality or content of these programs. Financial efficiencies also will result from college and program reorganizations, and students will benefit as a result of program collaborations, made easier because of this new structure.

“This is a very robust and aggressive plan, and for many, it is like the rug has been pulled out from under them without time to catch a breath,” Driscoll said. “We will all feel pain from these changes—no matter your college, your department, or your office. This is a community that cares for one another, and this is not easy for any of us.”

The current vision is that five programs in the College of Fine Arts—theater/musical theater; interdisciplinary fine arts/dance arts; master of fine arts in art; master of art/art education; and master of art/art studio—will not be open for future enrollment. Any student in these programs, which includes less than 40 students, will be given the opportunity to complete their studies in the program that they have started. IUP will work with these students on a case-by-case basis so that they can meet their academic goals in a timely fashion.

“Unfortunately, we must make these hard choices if we want the IUP that we love and respect to survive. We have made these hard decisions on program realignment based on student and marketplace demand and in the interest of our financial stability.”

“Here is the hard truth: IUP must make changes now. We cannot waste time looking backwards and thinking about what could have been. It is too late for that,” Driscoll said.

Despite university-wide efforts to affect enrollment, retention, and persistence, IUP enrollment has declined by almost 33 percent over the past seven years. Reductions in IUP’s workforce have not kept pace with these enrollment trends.

This year, IUP is projecting a $16-million shortfall, in spite of significant cuts in operating budgets for departments. Projections are for enrollment to decline for the next several years as a result of continued drops in high school graduates. If significant changes aren’t made now, another $16-million budget shortfall—or more—is projected for 2021–22.

Because personnel is IUP’s single largest expense, the IUP NextGen plan also includes reducing the workforce. In May, IUP notified its faculty union leadership that faculty furloughs were possible, following the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty union contract requirements. Any faculty workforce decisions will be in response to these strategic plans for IUP’s future.

Additional workforce reductions of non-faculty employees will be announced as decisions are finalized.

“We are at a crossroads, and we can choose one of two pathways: the easy way, passing our financial challenges on to our students and their families through steep tuition and fee increases; or we can decide to work together to restructuring IUP to an institution that is stable and strong, for now and for the future,” Driscoll said. “We have chosen this harder path, because IUP is worth it—we know that from our students, from our alumni, and from our community.”