Stephens College seems to have been all about change this semester. From the bridges receiving a makeover to the buying back Columbia and Wood Halls, the school seems to be sticking to the motto that “change is good.”
However, not all students believe changes around campus are anything but favorable. The Susie’s Store is different, Hillcrest and the Old Auditorium will no longer exist after the end of May and the most maddening adjustment at Stephens are the program cuts.
Four majors at Stephens College will be discontinued starting this fall. Liberal studies, general business, legal studies and interior design will be withdrawn from the degree programs and will never be offered again.
Annette Digby, Vice President of Academic Affairs, explained that new students will not be admitted in the liberal studies program. However, the students currently enrolled will be taught out and will be assisted to help them identify appropriate concentrations and minors to complete the degree. Digby also mentioned that self- initiated majors will still be offered to incoming freshman.
Dr. Giblin, Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, said that the major was cut because it serves the entire college and it is not house in any one particular program and does not have any dedicated faculty.
Dr. Giblin went on to say, “There are two main reasons to eliminate this major. As a result of academic program review during the 2011-2012 academic year, two of the supporting concentrations will be eliminated as will some minors that fulfill the degree. Most importantly, the degree itself is inconsistent with the current mission of the college. The wide range of minors selected by students exemplifies the lack of cohesion in this major, which is a major curricular concern.”
There are currently 11 declared as a liberal studies major, majority being seniors.
Like the liberal studies major, Digby explained that no more students will be accepted into the program, but current students will be taught out. Dr. Susan Bartel, Dean of the School of Organizational Leadership and Strategic Communication, has already met with all of the students and is working closely with each one during the transition.
Dr. Bartel stated, “The general business major is not easily aligned with the current Stephens College mission and vision. General business majors are available in a variety of institutional types making it difficult to be unique and distinctive. Student outcomes as measured by placement rates and alumnae success have not been as strong as other undergraduate programs. We do not have the resources to build a competitive business school with internships and alumnae involvement that could help our students find jobs.”
Legal studies did not seem to fit in with the typical Stephens program. President Lynch wants the students to transfer internally to another major at Stephens. Again, new students will not be admitted and the current students will be taught out.
“The general business major is not easily aligned with the current Stephens College mission and vision. General business majors are available in a variety of institutional types making it difficult to be unique and distinctive. Student outcomes as measured by placement rates and alumnae success have not been as strong as other undergraduate programs. We do not have the resources to build a competitive business school with internships and alumnae involvement that could help our students find jobs,” Lynch said.
The final major being cut, and perhaps the most shocking to some, is interior design. Digby elaborated the fact that similar to the general business major, interior design is not easily aligned with the current mission and vision. “We do not have the resources to offer the long-term type interior design program that would be competitive with other such programs within Missouri and beyond,” said Digby.
Only the sophomores, juniors and seniors will be taught out, but the freshman will not. The three freshman students will have to either transfer to another major within Stephens or transfer to another school altogether. Most likely, their credits will not transfer and all of that hard work will have been for nothing.
Stephens will be quite different come fall semester. However, maybe these changes will be better for the school and help Stephens thrive in the areas it is exceptional at. Only time will tell.