The following statement was provided to Newsline by Abbie Parkhurst, associate vice president for Marketing and Communications at Bridgewater (Va.) College:
Bridgewater College’s Board of Trustees concluded its fall meeting on Nov. 6. After extensive review, the trustees voted to accept nearly all of the administration’s recommendations. This includes phasing out low-enrollment majors in Applied Chemistry, French, Mathematics, Nutritional Science, Philosophy and Religion, and Physics, as well as the restructuring of the college’s equestrian program. The decision lays the groundwork for ensuring that the college’s next 140 years will be even stronger than its first 140, as we transform academic and co-curricular opportunities to meet the needs and interests of current and future students.
It is important to understand that elimination of a major does not mean a discipline is being discontinued. The elimination of a major in mathematics, for example, does not mean math courses, including high-level courses, will not continue to be offered as electives, as part of Bridgewater’s core curriculum, or as minors. They will. It simply means the credential of a major in math will no longer be offered, although more in-demand majors in applied math disciplines are likely to be developed and introduced.
The changes are being made to better align the college’s curriculum with student needs and interests. The changes will not affect the timeless parts of the college. The college remains committed to the liberal arts and will continue to offer a full, robust curriculum that provides all the disciplines traditional to the liberal arts. We will continue to prepare our students both for professional success and for personal fulfillment, instilling in them the habits of mind required for engaged citizenship and purposeful, meaningful lives.
The world today’s students will enter upon graduation is different than it was even 10 years ago, and the pace of change is not likely to slow. By building upon the college’s strong past, we are creating a framework to educate the students of today and tomorrow. The Strategic Resource Allocation plan process allows us to refocus resources on the priorities that will allow this to happen.
The Strategic Resource Allocation plan process rapidly is becoming a “best practice” in higher education. It is what forward-thinking schools do to become even more efficient and dynamic and was adopted as part of Bridgewater’s Strategic Plan 2025, approved by the Board of Trustees in November 2018. It is something Bridgewater intends to do periodically, and it is likely that within a short span of years most colleges and universities in the country will adopt similar assessment programs.
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