Class cancellations and the termination of professors impacted students as the semester began.
These changes were a result of prioritization recommendations.
Prioritization allowed officials to see where university money was being spent and determine if changes should be made to academic and support programs.
It was necessary because of a $1.5 million shortfall in the university budget for the 2016 fiscal year.
Officials started implementing some changes during the summer, including eliminating and phasing out academic programs with low enrollment.
Officials did not release the program list to students, but some already were eliminated.
The prioritization process was necessary, said Kent Buchanan, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“We evaluated and found that students just aren’t interested in these programs anymore,” he said. “Some of these programs were already empty.”
The lower enrollment in these programs can be attributed to changing students, Buchanan said.
“Universities and college students are changing and we need to keep up with that change,” he said. “We are here to help make this a place where we all want to be.”
Fewer than 35 students were affected by the phase out or elimination of these programs, but faculty will continue teaching the students until they graduate with their desired degrees, according to the final prioritization report.
“It is our duty as an educational institution to make sure that we are providing our students the education they deserve,” Buchanan said.
Fourteen faculty positions were cut, although some of those posts already were vacant, according to an email from administrators.
Eligible faculty members were offered early retirement.
All eliminated faculty were given severance packages and paid insurance premiums.
The prioritization process began in April 2014.
The final report was released to the campus community a year later, and the board of trustees approved the recommendations the same month.
“This is not something that stops after a year or two,” said Amy Cataldi, interim dean of Petree College of Arts and Sciences. “We need to always be re-evaluating ourselves and trying to keep up with students who are also changing.”
Visit MediaOCU.com to read more about prioritization.