The Consumer Affairs major in UW-Madison’s School of Human Ecology is likely to be cut due to a lack of funding.
SoHE Dean Robin Douthitt said SoHE administration has requested the University Academic Planning Committee cease admissions to the major, which is typically the first step in eliminating programs.
Douthitt said there are currently 11 vacant faculty positions within the program and only enough money to fill about four of the positions.
“We have to make some pretty serious budget cuts and we’re at the point right now where we have cut to the bone and the only place we have to turn now are eliminating faculty lines,” Douthitt said. “If we eliminate faculty lines, we have to eliminate programs; we don’t have the luxury of doing anything else.”
Academic Planning Committee member Laura Dunek said the committee will likely grant SoHE’s request to cease admissions.
“There’s no funding for these programs and without funding, from a reality standpoint, the programs are dead,” Dunek said.
Even if the program is eliminated, the more than 160 students enrolled in the major will be allowed to complete their degrees.
Maddy Krueger, a junior in the Consumer Affairs program, said the program gives students who are not admitted to the Business School another option to gain experience in the business field.
“You learn how to interact with customers rather than just learning the practices of business, which I really like because it’s more of a hands-on approach,” Krueger said. “I feel like it’s more practical learning.”
Douthitt said while she and other SoHE faculty did not want to cut the program, they had few other options.
“We have to come to terms with all the reductions that have been made in our budget,” Douthitt said. “Any time that we reduce options for undergraduate students it’s very serious and it’s not anything that any of us are pleased about at all, but we simply do not have the resources.”