The philosophy major at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) “is being considered for discontinuation.”
Some efforts since then to increase these numbers appear to have been hindered by the pandemic. Others appear to have been thwarted by the administration. In The Antelope, Philosophy Department chair David Rozema is quoted as saying, “One thing I did last year, was I submitted two possible new tracks under the philosophy degree — one of them was a pre-law track and the other was a philosophy-literature track — but both of those things were not approved by the dean.”
Other factors contributing to low enrollment appear to be a change to the general studies requirement making it the case that students are required to take just one humanities course, and they have a choice of 40, just five of which are philosophy courses. Additionally, other units on campus appear to be poaching opportunities for philosophy courses by creating and staffing their own ethics courses. Philosophy professor Gene Fendt is quoted as saying that the university “has been purposefully narrowing and cutting out any possibilities for any student to come in and take philosophy just by accident or because it sounds interesting. That’s usually how people get started in philosophy. If you don’t try it, you don’t find out what it is, and you don’t find out how it works.”
Further information here.
UPDATE 1 (12/24/21): Things are not looking good for the philosophy major at UNK.
UPDATE 2 (1/5/22): Inside Higher Ed reports: “it appears that time has run out: UNK leadership has officially requested permission from the Nebraska Board of Regents to wind down the philosophy major and bar new enrollments.”
UPDATE 3 (2/14/22): The Nebraska Board of Regents eliminates the philosophy major.