UT System Board of Regents votes to keep low-producing degree programs

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted Thursday to keep some of its low-producing degree programs at the University of Texas at Austin.

It’s a process the university goes through routinely, about every two years, UT spokesperson J.B. Bird told KXAN. University leaders had to justify keeping these programs to the board since they don’t produce very many degrees.

The programs the board considered and decided to keep were:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies
  • Bachelor of Music in Jazz
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Composition
  • Master of Arts in Architectural History
  • Master of Fine Arts in Dance
  • Ph.D. in Architecture
  • Ph.D. in Latin American Studies

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board made the recommendations to the UT board to either consolidate or eliminate the programs under the Texas Education and Administrative codes. The education code requires the higher education board to make such recommendations when programs have been low-producing for at least three consecutive years.

The minimum standards outlined by the coordinating board for low-producing degree programs are:

  • Bachelor’s programs: An average of five degrees per year, and not fewer than 25 degrees in any 5-year period
  • Master’s programs: An average of three degrees per year, and not fewer than 15 degrees in any 5-year period
  • Doctoral/Special Professional programs: An average of two degrees per year, and not fewer than 10 degrees in any 5-year period
In the UT System Board of Regents meeting agenda for Thursday, this chart outlines the low-producing degree programs recommended for continuation.
In the UT System Board of Regents meeting agenda for Thursday, this chart outlines the low-producing degree programs recommended for continuation.

According to Bird, the University of Texas System chancellor, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and the president of UT Austin all recommended continuing these programs, which the Board supported Thursday.

The university says some of the programs are small by design, so that’s why they don’t produce many degrees, and that’s part of the justification process during reviews like this. In the meeting agenda book, the university points out in the last four years, it has established 15 new degree programs and closed or consolidated 22 degree programs at UT Austin.

What jumps out from the chart are the declared majors and graduates from the Bachelor in Music degree for Music Composition. The university says that program wasn’t intended to produce a large number of graduates, but is designed to offer a “comprehensive, in-depth approach to composition.” It says the similar Bachelor of Arts degree is intended for students wanting a broader, more flexible approach, and many students switch from one program to the other during their studies.

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