February 10, 2005

SIU Board votes to close 2 SIUC degree programs

by Sue Davis

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Two associate degree programs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will close after students now enrolled in the programs complete their courses of study. The SIU Board of Trustees approved the change at its meeting Thursday (Feb. 10) in Edwardsville.

Some 34 students study dental technology at SIUC and 47 students study respiratory therapy. Before both programs close, they will run through their regular teaching cycle with an additional year added for any needed catch up.

Plans are in place to move the two tenured faculty members in dental technology to dental hygiene and the sole tenured faculty member in respiratory therapy will join the University’s physician’s assistant program.

John M. Dunn, SIUC’s provost and vice chancellor, said SIUC hopes to move both programs to community colleges. “Through our cooperative agreement with the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market, Kaskaskia College, an affiliate of SICCM, has agreed to offer its accredited program in Respiratory Therapy Technology on site in Herrin. We are also exploring with SICCM and others the possibility of sustaining a dental technology program at another site in Illinois.

Dunn said that he understands those affiliated with the two programs may not be happy with the move, but noted the decision was thoughtful and was part of a long-term process to focus on reviewing and evaluating programs. Input was gathered from those in the program, the College of Applied Arts and Sciences and from the SIUC Faculty Senate

While the demand for respiratory therapists is steady, the program is already offered at many community colleges in Illinois. SIUC is the only four-year institution offering the program. SIUC also offers the only degree in dental technology in the state. However, because a degree is not required in the field, many students enter the profession right out of high school by completing an apprenticeship.

Public colleges and universities continually evaluate program offerings; the two associate degree programs will join 687- degree programs closed across Illinois in the past three years. The process is part of the natural ebb and flow of programs and majors.