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13 Programs Eyed For Elimination In SUNY Transformation

President Stephen Kolison speaks at Rosch Recital Hall at SUNY Fredonia.

Thirteen programs that affect about 2.2% of the more than 3,200 students at the State University of New York at Fredonia will be eliminated in the coming years.

In a presentation at Rosch Recital Hall on campus before 3 p.m. Wednesday, university President Stephen Kolison announced the reductions while also noting new opportunities as the institution deals with a more than $10 million deficit that was called “unsustainable.”

About 300 staff, faculty, administrators, students and community members were at the special campus meeting.

Kolison said of the programs being cut, it represented 15% of all majors, but only 2% of the undergraduate student population. “I want to make it clear that the programs listed do not reflect poorly on that program’s quality or its dedicated faculty and staff,” he said.

As expected, the reductions were met by some in the audience with anger and sadness. One student, who is majoring in one of the programs being cut — Spanish — was overcome with emotion and spoke about the importance of the language as well as diversity, which is so important to the school.

The plan outlines strategic initiatives that underscore SUNY Fredonia’s commitment to maintaining its standing as one of the premiere public institutions of higher education in the Northeast. Kolison created this fiscal blueprint with guidance and support from the President’s Cabinet, through dialogue with University Senate leadership, and in collaboration and partnership with SUNY administrators. The roadmap aims to fulfill one of the key priorities of the institution’s new strategic plan – True Blue Transformations – related to financial sustainability and stewardship.

Among the plan’s key highlights are:

— Revenue generation: Develop innovative programs that are in high-demand by future-facing students and market trends. Examples of areas activated or in development include Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Data Analytics, Nursing (RN to BS), Educational Leadership, and Master of Business Administration degrees.

— Strategic Reductions in Expenditures: While strategically adding new programs, the University will also reduce expenditures on academic programs that no longer are aligned with student needs. As part of that strategy, 13 programs have been recommended for discontinuation are: BA Visual Arts and New Media: Art History, BA French, BA French: Adolescence Education, BS Industrial Management, BS Mathematics: Middle Childhood Specialist (grades 5-9), BA Philosophy, BA Sociology, BA Spanish, BA Spanish: Adolescence Education, BFA Visual Arts and New Media, Ceramics, BFA Visual Arts and New Media, Photography BFA Visual Arts New Media, Sculpture; BSED Early Childhood (Birth – Grade 2)

Students currently majoring in these programs will have the opportunity to complete their degree at SUNY Fredonia with individual teach-out plans. In addition, courses in many of these areas will still be available to SUNY Fredonia students even after the major is no longer offered.

— Efficiency enhancement: Although significant steps have been taken in recent years to reduce expenditures, the President and his Cabinet will continue to emphasize a disciplined approach to cost management, identifying areas for optimization without compromising the quality of education, student life, or commitment to faculty and staff. Today’s announcement is part of a commitment to balancing SUNY Fredonia’s budget within five years. It reflects difficult but necessary choices for a strong future following the loss of more than 40% of SUNY Fredonia’s total enrollment over the last decade. Recently, New York State delivered $2.8 million in additional ongoing operating funding for the 2023-24 fiscal year, representing a 25% increase in direct state tax support.

In announcing the plan, Kolison expressed his strong commitment to SUNY Fredonia and its potential for continued excellence going forward. “We need to make choices that we believe will, in the long term, put Fredonia on sound financial footing,” President Kolison said. “To do this requires strategically reviewing academic programs, their respective enrollments, and market trends on a regular basis, and then the necessary adjustments.”

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said: “Fredonia has a long history of providing academic opportunity and serving as an important asset to the community, and President Kolison has a roadmap to ensure a strong future for SUNY Fredonia. President Kolison’s vision of investing in areas of growth while recognizing the need to meet student demand is prudent and necessary, and the campus community’s collaboration and partnership are essential. The president and the entire Fredonia campus community have my support in this endeavor.”

Fredonia College Council Chair Frank Pagano said: “The Fredonia College Council fully supports President Kolison and the plan to ensure the long-term success of our esteemed Fredonia. We are confident that SUNY Fredonia will not only overcome these obstacles but also emerge more resilient and well-prepared for the future. As the entire campus actively participates in this crucial realignment process, we anticipate a strengthened foundation that will propel SUNY Fredonia forward.”

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