Michigan State CSD Program Faces Possible Closure No realm is safe from the recession, including higher education. The undergraduate division of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at Michigan State University (MSU) has been recommended for possible closure. On Oct. 30, 2009, the MSU provost sent a list of proposed cuts—30 academic majors, specializations, and ... Academic Edge
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Academic Edge  |   January 01, 2010
Michigan State CSD Program Faces Possible Closure
Author Notes
  • Kellie Rowden-Racette, print and online editor for The ASHA Leader, can be reached at krowden-racette@asha.org.
    Kellie Rowden-Racette, print and online editor for The ASHA Leader, can be reached at krowden-racette@asha.org.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Academic Edge
Academic Edge   |   January 01, 2010
Michigan State CSD Program Faces Possible Closure
The ASHA Leader, January 2010, Vol. 15, 8. doi:10.1044/leader.AE.15012010.8
The ASHA Leader, January 2010, Vol. 15, 8. doi:10.1044/leader.AE.15012010.8
No realm is safe from the recession, including higher education. The undergraduate division of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at Michigan State University (MSU) has been recommended for possible closure.
On Oct. 30, 2009, the MSU provost sent a list of proposed cuts—30 academic majors, specializations, and other programs within the university—to the university’s board of trustees. The goal of the MSU administration is to approve final cuts by the end of the spring 2010 semester. Although the reasons are varied and include some administrative misunderstandings, the likely culprit is funding, said associate professor Peter LaPine of the CSD department.
“The economy in Michigan is so dire that budget cuts to higher education have been deep and painful,” LaPine said, “and the MSU administration is responding to the reduced funds.” An additional 15% reduction is expected in the next fiscal year.
Still, the proposal came as a complete surprise to CSD faculty and students. The department has produced high-performing, employable graduates for more than 73 years, and faculty were given no opportunity to weigh in on this proposal, which was formulated by the dean of the College of Communications Arts and Sciences. At press time, undergraduate applications were no longer being accepted; there is hope, however, that the recommendations can be overturned.
Current enrollment is 312 undergraduates and 63 graduate students. “The impact on our graduate enrollment will be substantial and immediate,” LaPine said. “We will continue our graduate program; however, very few graduate programs exist without an undergraduate program.”
Faculty members are using the delays in the academic governance process to gain support from other units on campus as well as others in the CSD field. Already ASHA and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders have written letters to the university’s administration on behalf of the department. Alumni, faculty, and staff also have launched an online petition and are encouraging supporters from both inside and outside the university system, particularly those within the ASHA community, to speak up.
“In light of such a well-documented shortage of professional SLPs and audiologists, we certainly hope that the administration will see fit to retain this valuable and needed program,” LaPine said. “Any support we can garner from our colleagues would be appreciated.”
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January 2010
Volume 15, Issue 1