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UW Trustees approve reorganization plan; create schools of computing, tourism, and entrepreneurship

University of Wyoming Classroom Building on the UW Laramie Campus (File; Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming Trustees approved a major restructuring of academic programs at their meeting Thursday, November 18, UW announced Friday.

After stakeholder feedback, including urging by the Faculty Senate to delay and refine some recommendations, some changes won’t be fully implemented until July 1, 2023.

In addition to reorganizing some departments, some new initiatives have been created created as UW looks to stay competitive in the modern marketplace and attract research agencies and corporate partnerships.

These initiatives include the establishment of a School of Computing, a Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality Initiative.

Trustees voted to eliminate the Master of Arts in philosophy, the MBA in finance, the MBA in energy, and the Ph.D. in statistics due to low-enrollment, UW said.

Changes deferred until 2023 include the reorganization of the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Engineering and Applied Science “to better align the life and physical sciences and the humanities, social sciences and arts,” UW said. 

A number of degree programs initially targeted for elimination will be maintained, including bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages and master’s degrees in political science international studies, sociology and architectural engineering.

The proposed reorganizations were driven in part by a stated need to to reduce the 2023 fiscal year budget by $13.6 million, citing reductions in state funding and the need to stay competitive in Wyoming’s changing economy. 

The anticipated savings of the approved changes amount to only about $2 million annually. As a result, the Office of Academic Affairs has separately developed a budget reduction plan that achieves a $5.3 million reduction to academic programs — including elimination of 20-25 faculty positions that have been vacated by resignations and retirements, UW said.

Additional proposed reductions and revenue enhancements that will be refined during UW’s regular budget process for the coming fiscal year include academic policy efficiencies, consolidations in auxiliary units and reductions in employee travel and supplies.