UPDATE: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College refocuses academic core

February 16th, 2011 | SMWC

February 16th update:

Interim President Dottie King, Ph.D. announced the College’s plan to restructure several academic programs at SMWC on Friday, February 4, 2011.  This refocusing is an ongoing process involving members of the College’s cabinet, the president, faculty, staff and students.

  • The College administration is currently meeting with individual faculty members to develop a timeline for teaching out the campus programs that have been eliminated.
  • Due to the flexible format of the Woods External Degree program, the timeline for teaching out eliminated majors is currently under review.
  • The College will continue to support musical ensembles and theatrical productions on campus.
  • The music therapy and music core majors will remain a part of the academic core of SMWC. Primary instruments supported will be voice and piano.
  • The history/social science major is an individual major, not a collection of majors. While it has been eliminated, history will still be taught as part of the general education curriculum.
  • Graduate programs will not be affected by these changes.

February 4th original story follows:

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College announces a refocus of its academic programs to ensure the relevance of the College's curricula, identify new opportunities for innovation and enhance the distinction of its academic programs. By strengthening its academic core, SMWC reaffirms the importance of its academic mission to the future vitality and success of the institution.

The refocus of the College's academic mission has led to the difficult decision to phase out several programs. The decision was finalized after an extensive review process with regard to ensuring resources are directed to programs that are sustainable, efficient and meet long-term strategic goals.

"This has been a challenging and thoughtful process," said Dottie King, Ph.D., interim president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. "Yet, we have the opportunity to enhance the academic identity and reputation of our College, to expand outreach and to provide a more engaged experience for our students."

The undergraduate academic changes are as follows:

Combining Majors

  • Art and Graphic Design
  • English and Creative Writing
  • Journalism, Digital Media, Professional Writing, and
  • Marketing and Advertising.

Program elimination

  • Criminal Justice
  • History/Social Science
  • Instrumental Music major, and
  • Theatre (major and minor). 

Maintenance of instrumental offerings will be facilitated to enable the continuation of the Music Therapy major. The Social Science Education major is also being preserved. The eliminated programs will continue to be offered through spring 2011 and the exact date of completion for each remains under review. The College currently offers 37 majors in its undergraduate program and four in the graduate program. 

"The viability and strength of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College depends upon our collective will to envision a better future for the College and to move forward intentionally toward that future," explained King. "It is clear that this is absolutely necessary to ensure a stronger SMWC for future generations." 

The restructuring, approved by the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Cabinet and Board of Trustees, allows the College to maximize efficiency and enhance programs central to its mission. The result of these changes includes a more focused academic identity that is relevant to young women entering the campus program of this Catholic women's college in 2011 and beyond. 

King stressed the decision was based on the strategy of allocating resources toward areas of strength with programs, which are or have the potential to become programs of distinction. With enrollment on the rise for the fourth consecutive year and the program changes, the College will be poised for new and innovative opportunities to engage students and other partners.