Missouri Western to Phase Out Philosophy and Many Other Majors


Missouri Western State University is cutting a quarter of its faculty over the next year and “phasing out” approximately 100 of its degree offerings, including Philosophy.

The cuts to majors and programs run the gamut, from Art to Zoology. You can see the full list of changes here.

The actions are a response to budgetary problems generated over the years through “downward student enrollment trends, strained state funding resources, rising costs, deferred maintenance needs, long-term debt” and of course “now the economic impact of COVID-19,” according to an April statement about the university’s financial health that previewed some of the cuts.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

The institution is laying off 31 nontenured instructors, including some on the tenure track, at the end of this year. Twenty remaining professors will receive terminal, one-year contracts, meaning that about one-quarter of the full-time faculty will be gone by 2021. Others will take early retirement. 

The university declared financial exigency in March.

“We simply cannot be everything to everyone,” said the school’s president, Matt Wilson.

(Thanks to several readers for sharing this news.)


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TT
TT
11 months ago

Mud lining: at least the president seems to accept that it’s not a real university? Though he does so on the basis of a false dilemma…Report

PJC
PJC
11 months ago

Other programs gutted include Economics, Political Science, History, English, pure Mathematics, Gender Studies and more. Eroding most traditional facets of the university program while introducing eSports management… Unless they’re hiring Alex Garfield I don’t even know how they’d make that an effective program. Report

AD
AD
11 months ago

Can’t wait to see all the philosophers that defended, or expressed sympathy toward, Liberty cutting its philosophy department chime in on this. (After all, we don’t know the consequences of students not taking philosophy at MW…)Report

TT
TT
Reply to  AD
11 months ago

I am willing to chime in, since on the other thread I was the one who pointed out that consequentialist considerations don’t obviously speak in favor of keeping Liberty’s department. (And, for the record, I never said those kinds of considerations were the only relevant ones, so don’t automatically lump me in with the sympathy/defense crowd.) But before I do, can you say something that shows you’ll engage in good faith though? It could be an attempt to point out a possible disanalogy between the two cases that someone might point to, or an attempt to reconstruct a charitable reconstruction of the basic anti-Liberty crowd. Otherwise this is just a matter of getting likes.Report

Ken
Ken
10 months ago

I like what the model is / was in Canada. Canada had “universities”. If you earned a university degree, you had to study some humanities and social sciences, even if your major was technical (e.g. business or engineering). Canada also had “polytechnics”. You could, for example, study business or engineering at a polytechnic but the programs were shorter and had no humanities requirement. You did not earn a degree but a “diploma” or, sometimes, an applied degree. A university degree and a polytechnic credential were not considered the same.

I would suggest applying this framework. If MWSU want to eliminate humanities from their offerings, fine but their authority to grant university degrees should be taken away.
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Jim
Jim
10 months ago

As one of the philosophers who continues to be employed at MWSU, I would like to add some clarification about the situation at MWSU. Four programs in philosophy are being eliminated: BA and BS in Philosophy, BA and BS in Philosophy with concentration in Religion. As of June 1 no one is allowed to sign up for any of these programs. The ten or so students that are in these programs along with minors in philosophy, humanities, and religion need to complete their program related work within three years.

Staffing levels are being reduced. Last year there were four full-time tenure-track positions and one adjunct in philosophy. For Fall 20201 there will be three full-time tenure-track positions and two adjuncts. For Spring of 2021 there will be three full-time tenure-track faculty and an unknown number of adjuncts. AY 2021- 2022 there will be two full-time tenure track positions and an unknown number of adjuncts.

Philosophy, along with history, economics, political science and sociology are being merged into one department and in two years there will be a total of 10 full-time tenure track faculty to cover all of these disciplines with an unknown number of adjuncts (last year there were seventeen full-time tenure track faculty and six adjuncts covering these areas).

While it is unclear what the overall expectations will be for the remaining philosophy faculty, we will primarily be providing support to the general education program and the ethics requirement for business, nursing, a new bachelor of law program and the likely creation of a cyber security engineering program. Some of this support includes a graduate level professional ethics course, an upper level philosophy of law course, and courses in social and political theory. In addition, there is also the possibility of some support courses for biology and secondary education in terms of the history and philosophy of science. The future of the general education humanities and religion courses is unclear. The introduction to philosophy courses, the variety of ethics courses, and possibly the reasoning and argumentation course should be taught regularly.Report