Southwestern College president, student discuss impact from academic program cuts

The majors being cut include music, music education, music performance, history, theatre, musical theatre, speech/theatre education and marine biology.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST
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WINFIELD, Kan. (KWCH) - Citing low enrollment, Southwestern College is eliminating eight majors and two minors, mainly in the area of fine arts. Monday, 12 News spoke with Southwestern’s president about what this means for students in these programs, as well as with students impacted by the cuts.

Junior biology student Cameron Carter, who participates in the choir and helps out with Southwestern’s theatre department, said he was shocked by the program eliminations and the decisions made him angry, sad and confused.

“I’ve been extremely distracted by this,” Carter said.

He said he feels the performing arts at the university never had a chance to thrive, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and shows being canceled.

Southwestern University President Liz Frombgen said there are 26 students enrolled in eight majors that are being cut. She said she’s actively working to plan out each student’s future.

“We are in the moment, working with all the students. In fact, I spent time over the weekend meeting with them individually to sort of look at where they are, what their options are, what they want to do,” Frombgen said.

Southwestern College said it used enrollment data and the number of credit hours generated to come to the decisions on making the cuts. Those decisions caused some students to consider transferring to other schools.

“A lot of people are talking about leaving,” Carter said. “...It really saddens me that a decision like this can turn people away from their dreams and passions.

Frombgen said there is a possibility of partnering with other institutions to try and retain students in the programs being cut.

“There are all sorts of things that we can do. We could partner with other institutions. We can look to hire any adjunct instructors. So, we will come up with individual plans,” she said.