Emory University will eliminate several academic departments and make other changes in the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Robin Forman said Friday.
The college has been discussing the changes for the past four years as it works to enhance core strengths and expand into developing academic areas, Forman said.
Finances didn’t drive the changes, he said, noting Emory is projected to end the fiscal year without a deficit.
Emory will phase out the journalism program, department of visual arts, division of educational studies and department of physical education. Students enrolled in these programs will be able to complete their degrees and tenured faculty will move to other departments.
The university will suspend admissions to Spanish and economics graduate programs so leaders there can redefine the missions, Forman said. Emory also will suspend admissions to the Institute for Liberal Arts so it can be restructured.
The changes will begin at the end of this academic year and finish by the end of the 2016-17 academic year. About 20 staff positions will be cut over the next five years, officials said.
Savings from the changes will be re-invested into existing programs and growing areas, such as neurosciences, contemporary China studies and digital and new media studies, Emory officials said.
Leaders of affected departments sent letters and emails to students.
“These changes represent very difficult choices but I am confident it will lead to a more exciting future for Emory College,” Forman said. “These were fundamental decisions about the size and scope of our mission and how we use our resources to realize our mission of providing a world-class education for our students.”
President Jim Wagner endorsed the plan, saying Forman and others had the “willingness to go back to first principles, look at each department and program afresh, and begin the process of reallocating resources for emerging needs and opportunities.”
The college has shuttered programs before. Emory decided to close the dental school in 1990 and shut down the geology department in 1986.