In light of recent high profile department closures, I am writing to alert you to a situation that has occurred in the College of Education. I am a graduate student. My studies were focused on rehabilitation counseling for the deaf (RCD). The University of Arizona is the only school in the Southwest to offer an RCD program. There is a tremendous nationwide need for qualified rehabilitation professionals especially those trained to work with deaf individuals. The rehabilitation department at the University boasts a 100 percent job placement rate after graduation.
In November 1994, Dean Taylor and the University of Arizona College of Education decided to eliminate the RCD department. This action was blamed on budget reductions. Most of the enrolled RCD students were displaced in some way. Only a handful of such programs remain in the United States. The University of Arizona's RCD program supplied the majority of counselors to agencies in the Southwest. For more than 30 years, this RCD program has been considered one of the best in the country. Today, the demand for qualified RCD counselors exceeds the supply. With the closure of this department, the supply will only diminish.
The lack of rehabilitation counselors feeds the vicious cycle of societal degeneration. Disability can strike any one of us at any time in our lives. With the assistance of qualified rehabilitation counselors, individuals with disabilities can become socially and financially independent instead of living off the taxpayer's support. Rehabilitation is one field that improves quality of life and ultimately reduces burdens on society.
The only program of this type remaining at the University of Arizona is general rehabilitation counseling. It too is now in jeopardy of being eliminated for "budgetary reasons." The extinction of these programs will have disastrous long term effects on the nation.
It is time to wonder about the philosophy of the College of Education and the university as a whole when successful departments are eliminated. Although the RCD department was small, its loss will be felt by many for years to come.
Former RCD Student
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