By: Victor Dixon, A&E Editor
Two weeks ago, Newman announced that it would remove eight undergraduate majors from its list of offerings, and although this change doesn’t necessarily affect any current students’ ability to complete their degree programs, it has changed the way they think about their university.
“I was very furious that a so-called 'liberal arts' school cut the theatre program,” said Steven Brown, a freshman and theatre major. “One of the main reasons I decided to come to Newman was the theatre program. When visiting, I got to sit in on a couple of Mark's (Manette, theatre director) classes and got a feel of how great the environment was, and knew I wanted to go to a school like this. Now I know that a lot of future students will not get to experience that.”
Members of the Newman administration, including President Kathleen Jagger and Alden Stout, vice president of academic affairs, said repeatedly at a Town Hall meeting last week that even though Newman was cutting the majors, the subjects would still be offered as a “discipline.”
“While these majors and minors will no longer be offered starting next year, these important disciplines will continue to be a part of the Newman educational experience in the future,” read an email that was sent out to all Newman students announcing the reprioritization efforts. But some students, like Brown, are concerned that said disciplines will not receive the attention and care that they otherwise would have if they were still offered as degree programs.
“I genuinely believe that to grow and get better at theater, you need the practice of being involved in a show, and Newman is a school that made sure everyone got an opportunity to perform and grow,” said senior Hunter Bartholomew, a secondary education major with a concentration in theatre. “Students will look elsewhere because there’s no program here for them to go into…”
Some students also questioned the level of commitment that Newman has to its students and to the quality of their education.
“If I were a younger theatre student, I would transfer as soon as I possibly could,” Bartholomew said. “My plans haven’t changed because I am so far in my degree that it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to change, but sometimes I feel regret for choosing to come to a school that doesn’t care about its foundations.”
However, not all students have the same feelings about their programs being cut. Senior Andrew Stallard, a business administration major with a concentration in finance, said he understands the university’s decision to cut some of the programs.
“If the major isn’t bringing in the necessary cash flow to keep a program running, it’s not logical to keep that program funded,” Stallard said.
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, University Relations