Columbia College cuts back on majors, staff

Some Columbia College students will have fewer options in the classroom after the school’s board Thursday approved cuts to programs and staff.

Board members approved eliminating five academic majors in “under-enrolled” courses, as well as at least two academic minors. Students now enrolled in those programs will be able to continue in them until they graduate, but incoming students will not be able to enroll in the areas.

Interim provost Carol Moore said the changes will allow the women’s college to put more focus on programs that more students are interested in, such as a new bachelor’s degree program in nursing or an expanded public relations program.

“For example, the Spanish major only has three majors, but the number of students interested in minoring in Spanish is high,” Moore said. “So the Spanish program will continue, but not with the high-level courses needed for a major.”

Moore wouldn’t confirm the number of job cuts planned.

However, an email message from Columbia College president Beth Dinndorf said a newly created division – combining an associate-to-bachelor’s program, online studies, and graduate and evening programs – will shrink to 9.5 full-time positions from its current 23.

Moore said another five or six faculty up for retirement would not be replaced.

The reductions come at the end of a five-month review conducted by the school, during which Columbia College also substantially reduced its tuition.

“Many private colleges have done this and, in the process, a strategic plan can be established for both the short and long term,” Moore said.

Columbia College’s average number of female residential students has declined in recent years to 640 from about 800. Total enrollment is 1,600 if online, evening and graduate studies – which include men – are included.