The University of Missouri has suspended its undergraduate art education program because of its continuing lack of students, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
Although the University will not accept new students into the program, current students have the chance to finish their coursework and graduate, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported. School officials said the decision will not cause any job losses.
The school’s Interim Provost Ken Dean told The Columbia Daily Tribune that the art education met in 2-2011 talk about ways to improve the program.
“My understanding is that the art education staff asked for three years to improve,” Dean said. “They were provided with resources and space to continue but were told we wanted to see substantially higher numbers of graduates.”
In 2009-10 academic year, only two students graduated from the program. There were eight students enrolled in 2010-11, 11 in 2011-12 and seven in 2012-13.
“Art education is not dead at the University of Missouri, and it’s important that people understand that,” Dean said. “We’re not doing away with art education. They’re discontinuing the particular emphasis area of art education.”
The five college hopefuls that were accepted into the art education program before the decision was made will have to make other plans, Dean said.
Kathryn Chval, associate dean for academic affairs in the education school, told the Associated Press students will have three options for arts education earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and then pursuing a teaching certificate, pursuing the graduate art education program, or seeking an undergraduate degree in art education at one of 27 other Missouri institutions that offer the degree.
Kathy Unrath, remaining faculty member at the department, called the decision to suspend the program “devastating.” The department had only three faculty members; one has taken job at another university and another retired.
“It sends a really powerful message about the support from the university and how all of us value the arts and humanities as part of a holistic approach to education,” Unrath told The Columbia Daily Tribune.
Unrath will continue to teach art education classes to graduate and undergraduate students.
University of Missouri students and supporters have created online petition forms and social media pages to oppose the decision.