© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UNCA proposes to cut 4 degree programs amid major slide in enrollment, budget deficit

UNC Asheville

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

University of North Carolina Asheville Chancellor Kimberly van Noort announced Thursday the university is proposing the UNC Board of Governors to eliminate four of UNCA’s academic programs and curtail one.

The announcement follows an Academic Portfolio Review amid ongoing financial struggles at the university, van Noort said in a video statement on YouTube.

UNCA has seen a 25% enrollment decline over the last five years and, van Noort said, administrators have already made other cuts to try and address a deficit of approximately $6 million dollars.

The programs van Noort proposes for elimination are:

  • Ancient Mediterranean Studies (degree program and academic department)
  • Drama (degree program and academic department) 
  • Philosophy (degree program and academic department)
  • Religious Studies (degree program and academic department)

In addition, she said, she’s recommending the Languages and Literatures Department eliminate concentrations in French and German.

These five of 27 academic programs accounted for only 4% of the university’s recent graduates, said van Noort.

Students enrolled in any of the programs impacted by cuts or curtailment will be able to complete their degree programs at UNCA.

Chancellor van Noort also mentioned in her update to students, faculty and staff recent reorganization of senior staff, which has included elimination or consolidation of several senior roles. Those are:

  • Vice chancellor for admissions (eliminated)
  • Executive director — governmental and community relations (eliminated) 
  • Chief of staff (consolidated)
  • Chief financial officer/chief operating officer (consolidated) 

“This is the necessary path for our long- term health as we move forward,” said van Noort in a video statement. “It is essential that we commit resources toward programs where we're strongest with significant growth potential and that we explore promising new opportunities.”

UNCA became the second university in the UNC School System to announce significant program cuts following an APR this year.

Back in February 2024, UNC Greensboro Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., announced to his campus, he was eliminating 20 academic programs, majors and minors.

Chancellor van Noort’s proposal will go before the UNC system Board of Governors for consideration in July.

Jose Sandoval is the afternoon host and reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio.