University of Northern Colorado adds health sciences and arts degree programs, closing French and German
New academic programs in health sciences and the arts are on their way to the University of Northern Colorado in the fall, while the university will begin phasing out French and German majors.
The UNC board of trustees approved a new bachelor’s degree in health sciences in the college of natural and health sciences Friday morning. The program will emphasize health care administration and another focus on public health.
The board, in an in-person meeting on campus, also approved new Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in the School of Theater and Dance Arts at the College of Performing and Visual Arts. The BFA will be offered in Theatre, Theater Design/Technology, and Musical Theatre.
UNC is phasing out foreign language bachelor’s degree programs in French, German, and European languages and cultures due to “longstanding issues with single-digit enrollments,” according to director of information and public relations Deanna Herbert .
There were seven total students enrolled in the three programs in the fall 2021 semester, according to UNC. It will no longer accept registrations in these majors. The high number of students enrolled in the three programs recently was 15 in fall 2019. There were eight in fall 2020, 14 in fall 2018 and eight in fall 2017.
“It’s not a sustainable model,” acting vice president and chief academic officer Lisa Vollendorf told the board Friday morning.
Herbert said the university will help students who remain in the programs graduate in a timely manner with their chosen degree. Deans will work with students to develop individualized plans for completing their studies.
“When a program is discontinued, some students may choose to transfer, but our goal is to serve our students here,” the university said in a statement. “We are positioning our staff to serve students first and will ensure we have faculty in place to teach each program.”
Herbert declined to give information on the grade levels of the remaining students in the foreign language programs due to privacy concerns given the small numbers.
The dean of the college of humanities and social sciences shared information with the university community on February 8 about the phasing out of the three programs. Laura Connolly said there was “little prospect for growth” with the three programs despite the hard work of faculty.
“While I believe languages are an essential part of liberal arts education, the status quo is no longer sustainable,” Connolly said. “The WLC (Department of World Languages and Cultures) will still offer majors, minors, and courses in Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.”
The new study programs have been recommended and approved to begin this fall, with the start of the 2022-23 academic year.
Vollendorf said the programs will help the university attract new students in remarks to the board during his presentation on the programs.
“The general discipline of health sciences is a growing field with a multitude of attractive jobs. to the desire of this generation of students to give service to the communities in which they live,” according to board documentation and information.
The Health Sciences major is designed to serve as a starting point for students enrolling at UNC and wishing to enter the competitive nursing program. The health sciences program will provide a pathway to a career in health care, even if a student is not admitted to the nursing program.
The addition of the BFAs will cause the Bachelor of Arts in Musicals to be dropped. The university will only have a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. A Bachelor of Theater Arts will continue with two emphases: an emphasis on theater studies for non-performing students with a general interest in theatre; and a focus on teaching K-12 drama for students pursuing a K-12 teaching license.
Officials added that the BFA degrees were obtained with information from external accreditors and the UNC admissions office. Admissions reports that performing arts students do not apply to college or choose not to attend after being admitted due to a preference for a bachelor of fine arts.
“Elevating these programs to BFA status will allow our students to be even more competitive when seeking professional employment or gaining admission to graduate programs in the performing arts,” according to university information.
“We want a clean audit next year”
The board’s finance and audit committee held an in-person meeting Thursday on campus. The committee heard from an independent accounting firm on the university’s audit for the year ending June 2021.
As a state university and government entity, UNC’s financial statements are audited annually following the internal preparation of the financial statements.
The information prompted multiple comments from university representatives on some of the findings, what are referred to as significant lower-level deficiencies. Those were the result of miscalculations with federal funds, including COVID-19 relief money, according to senior vice president and chief financial officer Michelle Quinn.
Quinn said that with a variety of “complex and changing guidelines”, the money was underreported. Rubin Brown pointed out the miscalculations and corrected them. The university was not subject to any fines or penalties.
Quinn and several other university officials said UNC would work toward a clean audit for fiscal year 2022.
“We take our responsibility as a public entity to be completely transparent very seriously,” Quinn said. “There was an obligation on the part of Rubin Brown to inform the finance and audit committee. We hold ourselves to the highest standards.
Starbucks returns to campus
On Friday, the full board welcomed vice president for student affairs, Cedric Howard, who joined the university in November. The board also welcomed new director Annette Martinez.
Howard then reported on the progress of UNC’s impending new multi-million catering contract with food and facilities management company Sodexo. Howard said the deal “should be completed within a few weeks.”
With this, a full Starbucks will be operated in the Holmes Dining Hall on the west side of campus. Empire State Pizza, Crisol Latin, Bowlful (rice, pasta and salad bowls) and Burger & Co., a sports lounge, will operate in the renovated University Center.