Recently, the University of Rio Grande implemented an Academic Program Viability process. We are living in an educational environment in which colleges/universities across the country, small and large, are being challenged by a reduction in the numbers and enrollment of traditional high school students and the resulting loss of revenue. To manage the impact on financial stability many institutions are streamlining programs, reducing personnel and operating budgets and even closing. Even without those challenges, in higher education, academic programs are reviewed on a regular basis to determine viability and future offerings. The University cannot be all things to all people; we must provide the programs that are in demand by our students, discontinue those that are not in demand as evidenced by low enrollment and focus on strengthening and recruiting students for those programs that are continued. Our students, current and future, are our customers and we have responded to what our students want, as well as responding to the employment needs of our communities.
Our message is that we are: strengthening Rio’s focus by streamlining course offerings and discontinuing certain under enrolled degree programs to meet the educational needs and goals of our students and the communities we serve.
Of the programs remaining, 92% of the undergraduate students (96% of Associate Degree students and 84% of Bachelor’s Degree students) are enrolled in programs that remain at Rio. The programs that will continue are identified on our website at www.rio.edu at the “Academics” tab. The programs that will be discontinued reflect either no enrollment or single digit enrollment. Students in the discontinued programs will be able to complete their degrees in a specified period of time, enroll in an individualized degree program, change their program of study, or, if desired, transfer to another institution. Our deans, chairs, and advising staff are ready to assist students in implementing their choices. Courses that are part of the General Education offerings or required of specific majors will continue to be taught.
Streamlining programs and reducing operational expenses cannot result in long-term sustainability without additional changes. To that end, we are developing an Enrollment Management Plan to identify new groups of students to recruit, a comprehensive Marketing Plan, an assessment of on-line course offerings, a review of tuition costs, and other opportunities that change how we operate and what we offer to students.
Rio has been an important part of the communities we serve and in the lives of students for many…many years. We will continue to be a part of the communities we serve and we will continue to provide educational opportunities to students for many…many years to come.