As the world continues to find new ways to deal with COVID-19 and evolve during this process, Otterbein University finds itself in the difficult stages of deciding which programs and courses it needs to discontinue.
Otterbein is not alone in this matter, as many universities across the country are finding themselves in tight financial situations due to COVID-19.
For students who are currently enrolled in the programs under review for continuance, there is no call for concern as they will be allowed to finish out their courses.
There are bitter-sweet feelings with the discontinuance of the programs as well. Sports communication minor, sophomore Ty Forney said: “With the current pandemic, it makes sense that Otterbein has to make some cuts in order to compensate, but it is a shame that sports communications has to be one of those….I'm lucky to have the chance to finish out the minor still, but the sports communication field is one that always seemed like a huge draw into communications as a whole for many people I've met here at Otterbein.”
Otterbein administrators have assured the student body that they will be able to finish all courses in programs that are being discontinued. Kate Lehman, Assistant Dean for Student Success, clarified, “With any program discontinuation process, all students who are in the programs currently are given pathways to complete their degrees. They are called Teach Out Plans. The programs do not go away at the moment of discontinuance, but we basically no longer allow new students to start in the program or be recruited into the programs.”
The University Senate took a vote on programs up for discontinuation, and the voting was opened from Sept. 17 through Sept. 22. After the votes were tallied, each program was given a score rating using the Borda Count method which gives each course a weighted total and are listed by the university in order of discontinuation preference.
Some programs, such as the sports communication minor, have already been slated for discontinuance by their respective department.
The programs being voted on for discontinuance are listed here.
The final decision will be made by the Board of Trustees who have a meeting scheduled for Saturday, October 10th, between 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. This will be a public meeting.