WMU plans to restructure academic programs amid COVID downturn

After years of declining enrollment, WMU is launching plans to reshape how it teaches students.

The coronavirus pandemic has spelled trouble for Western Michigan University. This fall’s freshman enrollment is down about 9% over last year, but the university has been struggling with declining enrollment for years.

It’s in that environment WMU is considering restructuring its academic programs in a move meant to make the university’s offerings more efficient while also saving money.

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School leaders unveiled the plans during a virtual townhall on Wednesday.

What it means: University leaders, especially those in Academic Affairs, want to replace single-focus programs with multi-disciplinary ones. That could mean eliminating classes targeted at just one or a few majors and replacing them with ones that bring in students from many different departments.

They also plan to reduce administrative overhead. That could be code for reducing administrative staff.

The university has an aggressive timeline. They want to have specific recommendations for what programs need to go and what need to be created by April 2021. They hope to put those recommendations into action by 2022.

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