NIC makes reductions in two programs

Declining enrollment in two North Idaho College programs has brought about substantial change to those programs, including the non-renewal of teaching contracts for four NIC faculty members.

NIC will eliminate its Electronics Technology program next fall. One of its two full-time faculty members will be reassigned to the college's new Outdoor Power/Recreational Vehicle Technology program.
Three of five faculty members in the Computer Information Technology (CITE) program also will not be offered contracts next fall. The program itself will be retained, though the curriculum will be modified.
“Nothing is harder for a college than to let people go,” said NIC President Michael Burke. “It is hardest on them, of course, but it impacts their students and their colleagues significantly, too.
“Yet we have new programs coming on line and other programs experiencing substantial growth, and it is essential we use our limited resources in the best fashion we can,” he added.
NIC routinely reviews and assesses its programs, Burke said. Community colleges are traditionally on the forefront of meeting emerging needs and responding to local and regional trends. That works well when it involves adding new programs or increasing staff in growing disciplines, but as trends change for the worse, reductions and eliminations must take place as well.  
Both affected programs are within NIC's professional-technical area, and NIC followed the State Board of Professional-Technical Education rules regarding program reduction or termination.
Enrollment in the Electronics Technology program has declined from 20 students five years ago to nine last fall. Enrollment in the CITE program peaked at 118 in the fall of 2001, but declined to 60 this past fall.
State Board guidelines indicate that 75 percent capacity in professional-technical programs is considered a “generally acceptable standard.” This past fall, Electronics Technology was at 30 percent and CITE was at 41 percent.
NIC will use the salaries from the non-renewed faculty positions for other Professional-Technical programs, so there will be no net loss of teaching faculty, noted Vice President for Instruction Jerry Gee. 
“The number of students in these programs had declined to the point where we needed to make changes,” Gee said.

For More Information
NIC Assistant to the President for Community Relations Kent Propst, (208) 769-3404

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2005

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