Dickinson State University…

Oct 19, 2023
Written by: Marvin Baker

Dickinson State University was recently in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Five majors have been eliminated and several faculty laid off because of it.

Students who were interviewed on TV were obviously upset about this and they have every right to be.
For those of us looking in the from the outside; we obviously don’t know all the details of what led up to this. However, this doesn’t make sense.

DSU President Stephen Easton went on TV to say that math, communications and political science are all being cut, while English, chemistry and environmental sciences were on the chopping block but have since been reconsidered.
Easton says cutting these programs will save money and funding that would have gone into these programs will be re-routed to programs that need it more.

OK, anybody in leadership will say that because obviously, Mr. Easton is looking at budget issues. However, were the students even considered here?

Most preliminary budgets are considered before the school year starts. This announcement came in the middle of the fall semester. Students had already enrolled in this majors; paid their fees, bought their books and other materials and were committed.

Dickinson State University could have at least made this switch before the semester began and before students would have been adversely affected by this.

Math? At a time when math scores in the United States are slipping, DSU cuts math. Communications is important, but numerous other institutions in North Dakota offer it as well as political science. But math, that seems quite odd.
Then take a look at those majors that were spared, at least for now. English may have been cut but wasn’t. Here’s another necessity in any institute of learning. English scores of American high school and college students aren’t the greatest and DSU considers cutting it.

And let’s not forget that in many cases, English is required to receive a bachelor’s degree. Again, I don’t know all the details of this, but cutting English and math seem to be the last items that should be cut.

Chemistry and environmental sciences aren’t basic curriculum and you don’t need those to further your education.
When I went to college, the first two years at Bismarck State and the second two years at the University of North Dakota, math, yes math was required to get a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. Why should you need math if you’re going to be a reporter?

It was required as was English, which is a no brainer in my line of work.
Maybe DSU is beginning to switch it’s curriculum to something else in the future. But again, that should have been announced before the school year began.

These changes are affecting 44 students. That’s not a huge number, but 44 out of about 1,500 students at DSU were committed and now they are most likely totally confused on what their next move is going to be.
Apparently, those seniors who have chosen those majors, will be allowed to obtain their majors through this school year. But after that, underclassmen are on their own about choosing an alternative.

You just have to wonder, most students declare a major and minor and don’t change. Some do but most don’t. How many of those students might consider transferring to Bismarck, Williston or Minot to continue their higher education?
Mr. Easton should be thinking about the students here and not the budget.

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