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Bloomsburg, Pa. -- "The Bloomsburg philosophy major is no more," wrote Steven Hales, professor and chair of Philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in a Facebook post on Nov. 12.

According to his post, Hales said Bloomsburg University Provost Diana Rogers-Atkinson scheduled a phone meeting with him on November 11. 

Following the email instructions, Hales wrote, "I call. She is clearly driving with me on speaker phone. The final program array for the new integrated university is being sent to the Chancellor today. Upon his orders, all 'low-enrolled' majors are cancelled," she allegedly told him.

Hales said he was not given a benchmark for "low-enrolled" programs, or any of the parameters around designating a program as such.

"I was not told what the threshold is to not count as low-enrolled, whether that number is the most recent year only or an average over several years, or what. Nor does the total number of students taught per faculty member in philosophy matter. Only majors. We’re allowed (for now) to keep the minor, and no retrenchments are planned."

Hales said he was told that an opportunity to re-apply for the major after integration does exist. Faculty will be required to submit in writing various strategies for increasing numbers to viability.

According to Tom McGuire, director of Communications/Media Relations at Bloomsburg University, "no programs have been put into immediate closure. We are still accepting students for fall 2022 in these programs."

However, McGuire said, "Some departments were informed that their program was not placed in the integration array at this time due to the need for additional review and consideration."

Hales expressed frustration that "neither I nor my department desrve the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting, despite the fact that we have collectively taught here for 82 years," he wrote. He also noted how no members of the philosphy department were invited to participate in the decision making.

Provost Diana Rogers-Atkinson did not respond to NorthcentralPa.com's request for a comment on how the University informed each department head of their decisions.

Hales has since written an Open letter to Chancellor Daniel Greenstein of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and is asking for signatures of support.

McGuire said these programs are currently not on the integration array:

Majors

  • BA Anthropology
  • BA Chemistry (we still have our BS Chemistry which is the degree most students prefer to work toward as opposed to the Bachelor of Arts.)
  • BA Philosophy
  • BA Physics
  • BS Physics
  • BSEd Business Education
  • MEd Business Education

Concentrations

  • German (within the BA Languages and Cultures program)
  • Science: Physics 7-12 (within the BSEd in Secondary and K-12 Education program)

"Each department has also been told that they may propose a future curriculum that addresses current enrollment trends and resources," McGuire wrote.

Students in their current programs won't experience a discontinuation, he said, nor will they be prevented from declaring these majors in 2022. All 14 campuses within the integrated system are assessing where collaboration might be possible "to support continued offerings."

According to McGuire, the Anthropology program as a whole currently has 27 enrolled students, including freshman through seniors. In the 2020-21 school year, they intend to graduate 11. 

The BA in Chemistry has had 0 graduates in three years, the numbers indicate.

"The key data PASSHE looks at is how many graduate," said McGuire. "Target is 15 per year."

 

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