After weeks of pushback, University of South Florida President Steven Currall announced Friday that the university will “continue offering carefully selected undergraduate degrees in education,” but also suggested that some program changes are likely to occur.
The university released a statement, which included USF’s provost and college of education dean, about the future of USF’s education programs. The statement citied a 63 percent drop in undergraduate enrollment over the past decade, an issue that would affect the teacher pipeline in Florida.
“We intend to continue offering carefully selected undergraduate degrees in education,” the statement reads, “though likely fewer than the nine baccalaureate degrees, 15 majors, five minors and 18 concentrations currently available.”
But “no final decisions have been made,” so it’s possible that severe cuts and big changes could happen.
On Friday, a coalition of USF students organized a rally in response to the president’s plans for the College of Education.
Matt O’Brien, a doctoral student of mathematics education at USF, was involved in the rally. He told the Phoenix that the coalition is focused on getting a seat at the table in discussions on USF’s plans for its education programs and keeping faculty layoffs and furloughs down.
USF’s initial announcement, which made headlines and received much scrutiny, was to phase out the education undergraduate program completely.
The university shocked the education field over such a phase out. USF also planned to establish an education graduate school instead.
Since then USF received backlash from students, community members, and even Florida public school superintendents. Six school superintendents in the Tampa Bay area collaborated on an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times, calling USF’s decision a “terrible mistake.”