Walter Pierce

Regents ax dozens of degree programs, including one at UL

by Walter Pierce

The state Board of Regents on Wednesday released a list of low-completer programs that are set to be eliminated at universities and technical colleges statewide. Among the 28 programs facing elimination is one at UL Lafayette — the bachelor’s of science degree in dental hygiene.

However, UL Provost Dr. Steve Landry, through a university spokeswoman, says there will be little change for students in the dental hygiene program. It is currently a joint program between UL and LSU Health Services, and the diploma students received heretofore bore both institutions’ names. When the degree program at UL is eliminated, students will continue to attend UL for two years of general course work, but will do their clinicals with LSU Health Services.
Consequently, diplomas will bare only the LSU-HS name.

The board also voted to consolidate eight degree programs into three. Most of the programs affected were identified by the board last April and given additional time to increase their performance. Last year, the Board of Regents voted to eliminate UL Lafayette’s philosophy program due to a low completer rate. Nonetheless, a full slate of philosophy courses is still offered at the university, although students can no longer obtain a philosophy degree from UL.

Low completer programs are identified as programs that graduate fewer than eight students per year or 40 within five years for undergraduates; fewer than five students per year for masters/specialist programs; and fewer than two students per year for doctoral programs. Campuses facing program terminations have 90 days to appeal the board’s decision.

This latest action by the board comes as UL Lafayette implements a plan to cut an additional $4.6 million from its budget — the third budget cut mandated by the state in the last year for a total budget reduction at UL of nearly $16.5 million. While the university was not forced to layoff instructors, it did decide to close its 600-acre experimental farm in Cade, to outsource 31 custodial-services positions and to lay off five employees at Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, among other measures.