Mesa State trustees vote to drop anthropology, other programs

Anthropology will no longer be offered as a major or minor at Mesa State College.

Classes in anthropology will continue to be offered by professor Barry Michrina. But the phasing out of the anthropology major will mean the end of Clare Boulanger’s tenure at the college. Boulanger’s position will be terminated in May 2011.

The college’s board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to eliminate the major. Boulanger attended the meeting but was not in the room when trustees voted to terminate her position as a consequence of the department change.

The professor said she has written two books and traveled to Vietnam on sabbatical during her tenure.

“It seems odd that the person who has not rested on her laurels since getting tenure is exactly the one slated for elimination,” she told the board. “My upper-division courses aren’t massively full, but nonetheless I have students.”

The anthropology program graduated eight students in the past six years.

At the request of trustees, a group of 22 college employees reviewed all academic programs at Mesa State last school year. Programs were placed into one of five slots on a hierarchy, with the school’s biological science, nursing and police officer training programs filling out the top slot. Programs were evaluated based on students’ demand for classes, community demand for graduates of those programs, contribution to the college’s mission and other factors.

Reviewers also decided to phase out the social science major in the next two years, change an administrative office program and phase out a few shorter-term certification or associate degree programs, Academic Affairs Vice President Carol Futhey said. Also, faculty in a number of programs were asked to make changes and report back to the committee in the spring, Futhey said.

“These are not easy decisions. We’re trying to balance a number of things,” Futhey said.

Potential expansion to the nursing program was discussed at meeting. Nursing Department chairwoman Kristy Reuss said local medical professionals have asked her to include a doctor of nursing practice program because of an increasing need for nursing practitioners in the Grand Valley. If approved, Mesa State would become one of the first schools in the country to provide nursing programs for licensed practical nursing through doctorate study in one setting, Reuss said.

Trustees will see a feasibility report on the program during their January or March meeting.


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