TTU music therapy program to be eliminated, economics programs to be consolidated by TBR

The Tennessee Board of Regents has voted to eliminate Tennessee Tech University’s music therapy program and consolidate its two economics majors because they produce a low number of graduates.

"We’re sorry to lose the music therapy program. The faculty and students in the Music and Art Department are of excellent caliber, and this program always reflected well on the department," said TTU President Bob Bell.

"Unfortunately, while it was the only music therapy program offered in the state, we were still unable to generate the enrollment needed to remove it from the ‘low-producing’ list, where it had been for more than a decade," he continued.

The TBR guidelines defined low-producing as an average of 10 or fewer graduates annually for baccalaureate programs, five or fewer for masters programs and three or fewer for doctoral programs for a consistent five-year period.

About 45 students at TTU are music therapy majors, and they will be allowed to finish their course of study, but no new students will be admitted.

The TBR also voted to consolidate the university’s bachelor of science in economics options in Business Administration and Arts & Sciences and offer only one program for the B.S. in economics.

Those decisions were the result of an initiative aimed at increasing operations efficiency, reallocating savings and enhancing the academic quality of the six universities and 13 community colleges governed by the TBR.

And TTU isn’t the only institution to lose academic programs because of that initiative.

In fact, the TBR initially identified a total of 173 low-producing programs across the state. Of that number, 103 were at universities and 70 were at community colleges.

TBR officials then asked campus administrators to review those programs and make recommendations to continue, monitor, modify, consolidate or phase them out.

As a result, about 20 university programs across the state will be phased out — with some universities losing as many as four low-producing programs — and the TBR expects to save an estimated $1 million.

"Ideally, instead of losing programs, we would prefer to receive enough funding to allow us to grow offerings like these — but in today’s climate, that’s just not possible," Bell said.

The TBR is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties and serving more than 180,000 students.

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