By Mark Sommerhauser
A UW-Stevens Point plan to transform its academic offerings — axing liberal arts degrees while adding them in science, engineering, business and technology — has some wondering if other University of Wisconsin System campuses will follow suit.
UW-Stevens Point officials unveiled the plan last week. It came in response to the university’s $4.5 million budget deficit, and as part of a push to emphasize what the university described as “high-demand career paths.”
If the UW Board of Regents approves the plan, it would eliminate 13 majors — including English, art, history, philosophy and foreign languages.
New degrees would be created in fields where the university already has a national reputation, such as the environment and natural resources, as well as information technology, engineering and physical therapy, and business fields such as finance and marketing.
The proposal is perhaps the most dramatic to emerge on a UW System campus since a $250 million state funding cut rocked the System in 2015. Revenues also have been crimped by a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students that has existed since 2013.
UW-Stevens Point provost Greg Summers, in a recent interview, made no bones about the plan’s implications.
“It’s clearly altering the mission of the university,” Summers said.