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Letter to the Editor: Re: Proposed cuts to the liberal arts

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Doane University declares its mission is to offer a “world-class liberal arts and sciences education.”

If Doane cuts the liberal arts programs as currently proposed, then Doane will no longer meet its stated mission.

How can Doane be a liberal arts leader if it cancels key liberal arts programs?  Philosophy, Political Science, Physics, German and others are foundational to the liberal arts mission of Doane’s undergraduate education.

Doane faculty worked hard for many years to include an Honors Program in our curriculum. The Honors Program was designed to attract academically talented students and provide them with enrichment through specialized coursework. Students seeking the additional academic challenges offered by the Honors Program will lose this opportunity if the Program is killed. They will lose the opportunity to create a bond with other academically talented students and the faculty who teach in the Program. High-quality liberal arts institutions offer an Honors Program.

The particular course cuts and resulting faculty dismissals recommended by the current administration diminish the quality of education at Doane by restricting the liberal arts majors and minors. The reputation of Doane University will suffer from these cuts as fewer programs are available to incoming students.

Doane’s extraordinary Fulbright Scholars record is endangered by these cuts. German has long been a gateway to obtaining a Fulbright Scholarship.  

There are other ways to meet budgetary demands. As a former administrator at Doane, I can see that the current administration has become top-heavy and needs to be reduced. Restructuring the administrative positions will allow funds to be invested in the academic curriculum as opposed to administration. Many positions can be eliminated and/or consolidated. For example, I served for 12 years as the combined VPAA and Dean of Faculty. In addition, I taught French and advised Fulbright applicants. Today’s administrators could certainly take on more duties.

More efficient external fund-raising would help maintain the needs of the University as well as more effective student recruitment strategies. Slashing liberal arts courses and programs will be self-destructive. As the University becomes less academically vibrant, it will be more difficult to raise funds from granting agencies and more difficult to recruit students.

I urge President Carter and the Board of Trustees to reconsider these reckless cuts.  The integrity of our distinguished liberal arts institution deserves to be preserved for future generations.

Maureen Franklin, Ph.D.

VPAA, Dean of Faculty emerita