Students in unstable departments faced with tough decisions

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Students waiting to hear about department recommendations must consider their academic options now, before the final decision is made.

Last semester, Provost Paul Sypherd recommended closing the graduate-level statistics program and phasing out the physical education and journalism departments by 1998. Last month, Sypherd's recommendations were backed by University of Arizona President Manuel T. Pacheco. The final decision will be made by the Arizona Board of Regents following the departments' review of committee reports to Pacheco.

Judy Sorensen, academic advisor for physical education, said the department is not encouraging anyone who wants to enter the program as a freshman. She said she is working with current students by mapping out their schedule to ensure they will be able to complete their requirements by 1998.

In fairness to incoming students, Sorensen said the department is "really discouraging" new students. However, she said, "It is to our disadvantage, because the decision is not final."

Sorensen said because many physical education majors complete their College of Arts and Sciences general education requirements before declaring their major, it is not as easy to determine how many majors there are.

"We're seeing as many as we can ... we must make sure we do our best by our students," she said.

Valerie Coats is a sophomore hoping to study athletic training, but because of the department's pending elimination she may not be able to complete her course work.

Coats is required to take an upper-division physical education class, offered every other spring semester. If the department is eliminated she may not be able to enroll in time and would have to finish at Arizona State University or Grand Canyon University, she said.

"It's kind of my fault because I never declared my major," Coats said. She said she has taken courses to fulfill her general education requirements and that of the program but never officially declared her major.

Jim Patten, head of the journalism department, said the department is admitting students who are already on campus and want to change their majors. High school freshmen wanting to study journalism next year have been informed that the department is under review and the department will work with those admitted to see that they complete their requirements before 1998, he said.

In January, some prospective journalism students were told by the admissions department that they would not be able to pursue a journalism major because of the department's status.

Patten said, "It is fair to tell incoming students that the department is under review, but to say that it has been eliminated is inaccurate and unfair."

Yashaswini Mittal, head of the statistics department, said no new graduate students will be accepted.

The department will accept students if it survives, Mittal said. She said at this time the department must do what is best for students.

"We're not confident about admitting them now," she said.

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