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McDaniel College eliminating majors including music, some foreign languages

McDaniel College in Westminster.
McDaniel College in Westminster. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

After a Saturday meeting and unanimous vote of the board of trustees, McDaniel College is going forward with plans to restructure some of the liberal arts school’s academic programs, eliminating several undergraduate majors.

The college sent out a news release and made the announcement to students Saturday night on social media in a message signed by McDaniel College President Roger Casey.

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Art History, Religious Studies, French, German and Music will no longer be offered as majors for future students as a result of Saturday’s vote following a faculty-led review of the school’s programs, according to the release.

Additionally, minors in German, Music and Latin will also no longer be offered. At the graduate level, enrollment will be suspended in the M.S. program for Deaf Education.

All students who have declared a major in an impacted program will still be able to graduate with their intended degree and in every case except for German and Latin, courses will still be taught in these disciplines and students will be able to use these courses to fulfill their core education (McDaniel Plan) requirements, Casey said via the release.

Regarding music, choir, band and music lessons will still be offered. Regarding foreign languages, Arabic, ASL, Chinese, French and Spanish will still be offered.

According to the release, the program suspensions affect less than 3 percent of the current student body and less than 1 percent of this year’s pool of admitted students. The release also noted that savings from the restructuring will be reinvested to strengthen academic programs … “to better meet the needs of the 21st century, and to create new programs that will expand the curricular offerings of the College.”

The Strategic Thinking Group for Pedagogical Value, a faculty-led group, made recommendations to the president and provost regarding each academic program based on 10 years of data about student enrollment, retention and other factors, Casey previously told the Times.

In addition to the study of data, during the fall, McDaniel students were given the opportunity to participate in focus groups in which they were asked to recommend which majors and minors could be added to the catalog or which ones could grow.

Some current students expressed feelings that they had not had adequate opportunity to express concerns prior to the decision being made.

“The outcome of this restructuring process should NOT be inevitable amidst the outpouring of concern and calls for more honest communication from the college community,” the McDaniel Progressive Student Union wrote in a post on its Facebook page Thursday. “We have NO CONFIDENCE that President Casey will relay the extent of our concerns to the Board of Trustees this weekend.”

Casey is expected to discuss in greater detail the implications of the board of trustees’ vote Monday.

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