Defining Our Future

Announcement of Academic Program Cuts

March 8, 2012  

Dear UNI students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends:

Over the past two weeks we have announced several strategic decisions to protect and strengthen the core mission of the University of Northern Iowa. As leaders in higher education we have a responsibility to our students, their parents and taxpayers to maintain academic excellence and affordability, and to prepare for the future.

We believe these decisions will help build on historic strengths, while aligning UNI for future success in a challenging and competitive education environment. These changes also will help us reallocate resources to meet current budget requirements and student demand.

Today I announced that I will recommend to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, a series of changes that include closure and restructuring of academic programs with low graduation rates. We continue to be committed to the success of students enrolled in the affected programs, and each of them will be able to complete their studies.

The academic program closures and restructuring are needed so we can reallocate resources to high-demand and potential-growth programs. On average, the programs listed for closure graduated fewer than two students per year over the last five years. Today's recommendation is for the closure of 23 undergraduate majors, 19 undergraduate minors, 16 graduate programs, and the restructuring of 19 programs. The programs listed represent less than 2 percent of the degrees granted in 2010-2011. 

The complete list of academic program changes is online at

Our commitment to being the educator of choice for the next generation of teachers is unwavering. The Board of Regents approved the closure of Malcolm Price Laboratory School by June 30, 2012. The Dean of the College of Education Dwight Watson and his colleagues are developing new approaches to field and clinical experiences with local school districts, and we remain committed to the development of a robust statewide research and development initiative. The lab school has been an integral part of our strong heritage of achievement in teacher education, but it is not feasible for UNI to continue to subsidize the school.

Additional changes previously announced include integrating the collections of the UNI Museums within campus and the community for greater student access; reducing general fund support to Panther Athletics; and closing UNI Print Services.  

These decisions are never easy. I recognize the personal impact these changes will have on faculty, staff, students and alumni. We are working through the transition plans with those most directly affected by these changes.

I want to thank you for your support of the University of Northern Iowa. We continue our proud tradition of providing our students with academic excellence and a great collegiate experience.


Benjamin J. Allen