USF Changes Course On Closure Of Education Programs - WUSF Public Media | Tampa NPR, Local News Coverage

USF Changes Course On Closure Of Education Programs

The University of South Florida announced it is eliminating undergraduate programs in the College of Education. Mark Schreiner/WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida intends to continue offering some undergraduate degrees in education, school leaders announced in a release on Friday.

USF President Steve Currall and other leaders made the announcement following a meeting with school district superintendents from around the greater Tampa Bay region.

“Let us reiterate that no final decisions have been made regarding the College of Education,” said the release, which was attributed to Currall, Provost Ralph Wilcox and Interim Dean of the College of Education Judith Ponticell.

The university had announced in October that it was eliminating the College of Education because of budget cuts.

At the time, school leaders said enrollment was suffering. Friday’s release said the college’s undergraduate enrollment over the past decade dropped 63%.

Leaders of schools around the greater Tampa Bay region along with elected officials, pushed back on the decision to close the school, saying it was made without consulting local school districts.

Over a quarter of new teachers hired at area schools are alumni of USF’s college of education, school district officials have said.

Friday’s announcement said that USF will likely not be able to offer all of the nine baccalaureate degrees, 15 majors, five minors and 18 concentrations currently available.

“In the coming weeks, we will further receive and review information regarding the demand in K-12 schools for graduates of the undergraduate programs, and we will make informed and evidence-based decisions that align with the data,” the release said. “USF remains committed to our responsibility of meeting the needs of the surrounding communities while continuing to be responsible stewards of the university’s financial resources.”

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