News & Events

Academic Programs for the Future of Illinois Wesleyan

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Board of Trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University met (via Zoom) on July 16. This special meeting was called primarily to finalize the university’s year-long academic program review.

The objective of the review has been to enhance and foster the university’s educational mission, through sustainable programs that meet the learning needs and interests of today’s and tomorrow’s students. This will entail some reallocation of resources, both to strengthen existing programs and to enable new offerings. 

The Board has considered the recommendations of the Program Evaluation Task Force (PETF) report, as well as the multiple subsequent stages of the program review. While basing their deliberations primarily on educational considerations as reflected in the recommendations of the PETF and their stated rationales, in some instances the Board modified those recommendations. For example, the Board did not endorse the PETF recommendations for closure of the Education Studies Department, the School of Art, nor the School of Music, because in the long-range judgments of the Board, the educational mission of the university as a whole would not be enhanced by the discontinuance of these programs.

Over the course of this process, every academic program was reviewed. The possibility of discontinuance, understandably, has drawn the greatest attention. But the goal of the process is to develop a stronger university for the future, and it is important to note that almost half of the university’s forty programs were recommended (by the PETF and/or by the Board) for “transformation,” which might include, for example: pedagogical innovation, interdisciplinary outreach, and more efficient use of resources. Each of these programs has had preliminary discussions with the Academic Affairs office and will submit a written plan to that office, with specific goals and timelines, before the conclusion of the fall semester.

Decisions were made at today's meeting to discontinue majors and minors in Anthropology, Religion and French, and the minor in Italian. Other programs studied further following the May board meeting – the School of Music and programs in Philosophy and Sociology – were identified for transformation. The full decisions reached by the Board at its May and July 2020 meetings include (shown in the center column):

 

IWU Academic Program Review 

Academic Unit

Board Decision

PETF Recommendation

A&F: Accounting

Investment; Transformation

Investment; Transformation

A&F: Finance

Sustain

Sustain

American Culture Studies

Closure
(Delete Major and Minor)

Delete Major and Minor

Anthropology

Closure
(Delete Major and Minor)

Delete Major; Sustain Minor

Biology

Transformation

Transformation

Business Administration

Sustain

Sustain

BA: International Business

Closure
(Delete Major)

Delete Major

BA: Marketing

Sustain

Sustain

Chemistry

Transformation

Transformation

Computer Science

Transformation

Transformation

Design Technology & Entrepreneurship

Closure
(Delete Major and Minor)

Delete Major and Minor

Economics

Investment; Transformation

Investment; Transformation

Educational Studies

Transformation

Closure

English

Sustain

Sustain

Environmental Studies

Transformation

Transformation

Greek & Roman Studies

Closure
(Delete Major and Minor)

Closure

Health Promotion & Fitness Management

Sustain; Investment

Sustain; Investment

History

Transformation

Transformation

International Studies

Transformation

Transformation

Mathematics

Transformation

Transformation

Neuroscience

Sustain

Sustain

Philosophy

Transformation

Transformation

Physics

Transformation

Transformation

Political Science

Transformation

Transformation

Psychology

Transformation

Transformation

Religious Studies

Closure
(Delete Major and Minor)

Transformation

School of Art

Transformation

Closure; Sustain Minors

School of Music

Transformation

Closure; Delete all Major

School of Nursing

Sustain

Sustain

School of Theatre Arts

Sustain; Investment

Sustain; Investment

Sociology

Sustain

Sustain

World Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Closure (French & Italian)
(Delete French Major & Minor and Italian Minor);
Transformation (Spanish)

Delete Major (French);
Sustain Minor (French); Transformation (Spanish)

Women's & Gender Studies

Transformation

Transformation

Program closures may affect the positions of as many as nine faculty members. All potentially affected faculty will receive official notification as soon as possible, and every effort will be made to place a faculty member in another suitable position at the university.  

In reaching its decisions, the Board has considered a wealth of information from all constituent groups of the university. This process was primarily carried out by the faculty, including the Program Evaluation Task Force (PETF), the Council on University Programs and Policy (CUPP), the Curriculum Council (CC) and votes of the faculty as a whole. Additionally, input was gathered from a survey of all students, a response to the PETF report by the administration, a working group of trustees and faculty leaders, and additional reports from the chairs of academic departments, the provost, and the chair of CUPP. The Board also received and reviewed a number of emails, letters, petitions, and phone calls from alumni and others.  

Read more about the process or see an FAQ here.

Curricular changes will not take place in the coming academic year, and students currently majoring or minoring in these programs will be able to complete their degrees in the programs. Elimination of a major or minor does not entail removing opportunities for students to explore these fields through new course offerings. It is our intention to continue to offer a robust liberal arts curriculum. 

Going forward, discussion with relevant departments will explore potential new structures and teaching modes to serve our students effectively. These changes are intended to improve alignment of faculty-student ratios across disciplines, while also fostering enhancement of Illinois Wesleyan's distinctive interdisciplinary opportunities. The potential for new academic structures and programs will provide faculty opportunities to design collaborative and interdisciplinary student experiences unique to Wesleyan’s distinctive curricular offering of liberal arts and pre-professional education.  

The Board acknowledges that assessment and change are challenging, and appreciates the evaluative work undertaken by faculty members and the administration, as well as the great care and interest demonstrated by our alumni, faculty, students and staff.

We are confident that these decisions, though difficult, will bring new vitality to the future of liberal arts education at IWU and enhance the educational mission of the university. To all who have participated in this process and let their voices be heard, we thank you and look forward to working together for the future of Illinois Wesleyan University.