Monday, May 25, 2015

Capitalism Cuts Colleges In Carolina

Last month I mentioned that North Carolina Republicans were trying to eliminate medical programs at the UNC system involving abortion procedures as part of a major new anti-abortion bill.  That bill, HB 465, is currently tied up in the state Senate.  But it looks like the anti-science, anti-choicers have won anyway: massive cuts at the UNC system have prompted the wholesale elimination of dozens of degree programs.

Thursday morning, the Board of Governors educational planning committee voted to discontinue 46 degree programs across the UNC-System, including one at UNC-Chapel Hill: human biology. The entire Board voted Friday to adopt the recommendations voted on by the committee Thursday.

Other schools lost more programs than UNC-CH. East Carolina University and UNC-Greensboro saw eight programs eliminated each.

Junius Gonzales, senior vice president for academic affairs for the UNC-System, led the review of program productivity, which refers to the number of degrees granted in programs annually.

Gonzales said the process was inexact and that it was essential to listen to the thoughts of campus-level officials. He said the frequency of education programs being classified as low productivity due to few majors was an example of a situation where the processes of the UNC system and the interests of the state did not always align.

"This is an art, not a science," he said.

Now, with UNC-Chapel Hill home to the one of the state's best medical schools would the college eliminate the human biology program as a degree?

The Human Biology, Ecology and Evolution Program is interested in the relationships between culture, behavior, and environment and their impacts on health and well-being. This focus is crucial in light of accelerating ecological, economic and socio-political changes such as globalization, market integration and climate change. We ask, for instance, what are the impacts of changing environments on human health, biology and behavior across the lifespan? What factors can foster or undermine ecological and cultural resilience? How do evolutionary and ecological processes shape human variation in the past and present?
Well then.  No wonder it had to go.  Can't teach abortion, can't teach climate change.  Not when the Know Nothings are in charge of my home state. Also getting the axe: several gender studies and African studies programs, because of course:

Board member Steven Long, who is the vice chairman of the academic planning committee, expressed concern about the labels applied to the actions, saying that words like "discontinuation" could confuse the public.

“They think you’re eliminating a lot of the cost, but we’re really only eliminating a little bit of the cost,” Long said. “We’re really not discontinuing the whole program; we’re just scaling it back.”

Long said he didn't think the programs addressed by the report necessarily needed more scrutiny.

We’re capitalists, and we have to look at what the demand is, and we have to respond to the demand.”

We're capitalists, not educators, dammit.

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