Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

26 Making the list

Posted on April 21, 2008 in News
By Sarah Trent

“Sometimes, you’ve got to be a provocative SOB,” said interim Provost Mark Lapping, as two members of the Free Press pawed through the plans and letters supporting the 26 programs to whom suspension has been threatened.

Plans and evaluations like this should happen on a more regular basis, according to a number of administrators, including Lapping.

He said that the Board of Trustees requires that programs undergo a review every seven years. Those reviews, he said, have not formally been occurring.

In their temporary positions, Lapping and interim President Joe Wood have made bold moves to incite change in the university, primarily in response to the financial crisis that has become more and more apparent over the past year.

The plans they make public – the list of 26 programs, the soon-to-be-announced $6-7 million in budget cuts and a clearer picture of which positions will be eliminated – come after much deliberation and planning.

Last fall, Lapping tried to initiate cuts by introducing the idea to reorganize colleges and programs, which would cut administrative costs.

For example, he said, “physics and chemistry are right next to each other. They share an office, administrative assistants, even a coffee pot.” He admits that combining these two particular programs might not have saved a lot of money, but says that their reaction to the idea was disheartening.

“God forbid you combine them,” he said, paraphrasing the departments’ reactions.

Other programs and colleges were asked, similarly, to think about the possibility of joining forces.

Business and the School of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology were asked how they might cooperate, under the assumption that both schools were most concerned with innovation.

Lapping was hoping to cut two deans, the savings from which would have totaled nearly half a million dollars, including salaries and benefits.

“We’d much rather cut administrative costs,” he said, but the faculty weren’t psyched about the idea, and, because USM operates under governance shared by the various staff and faculty senates, the idea didn’t fly.

President Wood is looking to cut between $6 and $7 million from the budget, in an effort to leave incoming President Selma Botman with a clean slate, and Lapping thinks that had two deans been cut and several programs found ways to collaborate, that number would have been easier to reach.

He does say that the program evaluations would have gone on regardless.

Discussions for creating a list – or two – of programs to consider for suspension began last fall, said Provost Mark Lapping.

Filed alongside the plans “listed” programs presented to him to get themselves off that list are email correspondences between Lapping, Wood, and others.

The first we could find referencing the need to suspend programs dates to Nov. 5.

The email is from Wood to Lapping, and says (we did not correct Wood’s typos):

Nov. 5

I need to put our a list of programs for evaluation for suspension or elimination.. Recognizing that we’d have to carry students presently in any program to completion. I just don’t want to admit more into them. Here’s my starter list for you an me to discuss before anything else-all based on either low enrollments/graduates or no faculty:

Some of this list is political-to see if we can find an angel…

BS in ES&H

BS in Geoscience

BS in Physics

MS in Computer Science

MS in Counseling: Voc Rebab

MS in Statistics

Also worth asking what is required for BS in Econ as opposed to BA in Econ, based on # of grads, etc. Same with some music degrees…

Joseph S. Wood

Various emails went back and forth, and the list – or rather, two lists – got longer.

In a correspondence we don’t share here, it was noted (and confirmed by Lapping in person), that originally there would be two lists, one which was a serious threat of suspension, and one which would list programs that needed to justify their resources in comparison to the number of students in the program.

“The key question,” said Lapping, “is if you serve a lot of students in a service capacity (rather than for a degree), do you need to have a major?” He cites the physics program as an example: it has a low number of graduates, but serves many other majors, and is therefore difficult to cut.

In early Jan., another email from Wood to Lapping notes some frustration in the lack of movement toward creating solutions, and outlines an even larger list for possible inclusion on the lists. Original typos have not been corrected, and a series of handwritten notes are put in {brackets} because Wood uses parentheses and [brackets] in his email.

Jan 3 08


I’m going to be a pariah one way or another, so I might as well start, given:

-little headway on reorganization

-ineffective response to my request for consideration of what we stop doing

-increased urgency from state budget situation

-etc., etc. (we can discuss these)

I’d like to announce next week “suspension of admissions” effective Fall 2008 for the following programs, based on annual numbers of graduates. Suspension of admissions allows us to review thoroughly and consider alternative means for supporting these programs, if justified (e.g. move Statistics to a Professional Science degree, etc.or get industry support for Environmental Health and Safetly, or merge PPM and CPD, Linguistics with Languages, etc.). Ideally I announce to the University on Thursday or Friday and to BOT on Sunday in public.

But I want your involvement in this, while also buggering you a bit to be the judicious arbiter over the next 12 months with the new president….

And you and I will find some time to discuss more. I especially want to notify deans and faculty of each program before I announce..even if only by a few hours.

None of these suspensions leads to any faculty termination, but allows us to refocus our instructional resources….

So here is my preliminary list,


Arts and Humanities (LAC) {check mark}

Athletic Training

Biochemistry {crossed out, no additional faculty?}

Chemistry {-}

Environmental Health and Safety { – go talk to John Wrigh}

Geoscience {-}


Physical Science (LAC) [tough one here…]

Physics {-}

Technology Education plus Applied Tech Educ. And Applied Tech Leader [we did one of these last year] {suspend}

Women’s Studies [obvious we can’t then go forward with the MA — or that replaces the BA??]

Plus programs in russian, german, CLASS, etc. ..

{Rehab Counseling – suspension}


Accounting {crossed off}

Adult Education {crossed off}

Applied Literacy {talk to Betty Lou}

Computer Science {- suspend}

Community Development and Planning {- lopsided}

Health Policy Management

Manufacturing Management [already suspended] {- suspend}

Statistics {-}

Plus review:

Biology {note unreadable}

Immunology {note unreadable}

Leadership and Organizational Studies {note unreadable}

Music {-music-}


All of them in Education, or

Adult and Continuing Teacher Education {all require review and asses}

All of them Nursing


Public Policy [already suspended] {-suspend}

I know this is a highly politicized list, but putting it out is critical to getting some real traction here.. Again-issue is suspending admissions to these programs in order to review real potential for sustainability of the programs-and of the University.


The public announcement that 26 programs had been put onto a list did not come for another month.

Several days after the Jan. 3 email, one went to Margo Wood, the associate provost and dean of graduate studies, and “Mary,” whom we could not identify.

January 7 2008

Margo and Mary- in confidence.

Mark and I want to move to suspend admissions for the following. I will make this public in due time, ideally within a week, but for now need your cooperation in implementation:

MS in Computer Science

MS in Manufacturing Management (already suspended admissions? Any other movement to suspend?)

MS in Counseling/Program in Rehabilitation Counseling

PhD in Public Policy (faculty have already recommended this action)

Any admissions in any of these yet for Fall 2009?

I will be asking several other programs to reorganize (e.g. like Statistics is doing), and if they fail, I will move to suspend admissions on them too.

More as I can. Thanks. Joe

On Feb. 8, the final list of 26 went public, in announcements to the faculty and student senates, as well as over the employee email list-serv in the form of a newsletter from interim President Joe Wood.

Programs were given until April 1 to submit responses, nearly all of which have come in. The final decision to suspend admissions “to a small number of programs” will come July 1. The process of suspension takes one year, as unions and trustees need to be contacted and consulted.

To read summaries of the plans programs submitted to the provost, see “26 plans” on our website,

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