University of Saint Francis announces update to academic programs

October 28, 2019

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The University of Saint Francis has announced updates to its academic programs as part of the implementation of its new strategic plan. The focus of the strategic plan is to be proactive in responding to the talent needs of our community and student academic interests.

“Making decisions on academic programs is very difficult, but also necessary to address the current and future interests of USF students,” said USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF. “These decisions were made with extensive discussion, research and input from administration, faculty, staff and students, as well as outside consultants. With the many opportunities and challenges facing higher education, successful universities must have the foresight to make necessary changes to thrive in this competitive environment.

“USF has seen many changes in its 130-year history, but the university has always found new and innovative ways to carry out its religious and educational mission. These changes will help us to continue to do so in the 21st century.”

Some new degree programs will be implemented while some current programs will be discontinued or revised. The changes will affect approximately 30 students whose primary major is in one of the 15 programs. That number represents fewer than 1.5% of the university’s student population. All current students will be able to finish their chosen degree program at USF.

Effective fall 2020, USF will discontinue two master’s degree programs in Fort Wayne and one in Crown Point, 11 bachelor’s degree programs, one associate degree program and seven minors. Some bachelor’s degree programs will continue to be offered as minors. Here is the full list of changes: USF Program Changes for Fall 2020.

Changes were approved by the USF Board of Trustees on Oct. 24.

Eleven faculty members affected by the program changes are being notified and will remain employed at the university through May 15, 2020. In addition, one current staff member’s position has been discontinued and some vacant faculty and staff openings will not be filled. Affected employees will be extended a severance package that includes severance pay, outplacement services, counseling and the extension of the education benefit through degree completion for currently enrolled faculty and dependents. Organizational restructuring in academics will also result in several employees transitioning to different positions.

“The faculty changes are especially difficult because these are dedicated, committed educators who have served our students well,” Sister Elise said. “It is unavoidable that hard decisions are required to serve our students and to use our limited resources to continue to grow the University of Saint Francis. We will help the faculty and staff who are affected in every way possible as they pursue new opportunities.”

As part of the strategic plan, USF will continue providing programs most in demand by students. USF offers a wide range of educational opportunities, including 13 degrees in health sciences, 10 degrees in creative arts, 10 degrees in business, nine degrees in behavioral and social sciences, and highly sought-after degrees in biology, pre-professional sciences, environmental sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, education, English, kinesiology, nutrition, Theology and more. USF will continue to offer nearly 70 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

Among the programs being explored for development at USF are doctorates in business administration and physical therapy, a master’s in art therapy and baccalaureate programs in engineering and logistics/e-commerce, and a certificate in graphic design.

“USF’s strategic plan called for a review of all academic and non-academic program offerings to determine how best to allocate our human and financial resources to further our mission as a Catholic, Franciscan university,” Sister Elise said.

Non-academic programs are also being evaluated and recommendations will be presented to the Board of Trustees for review in January.

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the School of Health Sciences, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and School of Creative Arts. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the university’s business and music technology programs while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis campus experience includes 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships and is recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution. Approximately 2,200 students from a broad geographic region attend USF.