New College to end after 43 years, new office to be created


New College will be dissolving, the university announced Feb. 23. The Office of Adult and Continuing Studies will be created and housed under the School of Education. 

New College will be dissolving after 43 years at St. Edward’s University.

The board of trustees voted and approved the changes to New College wrote Donna Jurick, executive vice president and interim vice president for Academic Affairs, in an announcement sent to faculty Feb. 24.

New College is a program for adults with full-time jobs or family responsibilities to take courses.

“New College was revolutionary when it was created in 1974,” Jurick wrote. “Over the years, the competitive landscape and enrollment patterns have changed, prompting St. Edward’s to change our approach to serving these students.”

While New College is going away, a new structure will be created to help adult students — the Office of Adult and Continuing Studies. It will be under the School of Education. New College Interim Dean Ramsey Fowler will lead the new office.

Four New College majors will be discontinued after this semester: human services, public safety management, public administration and interdisciplinary studies. These majors account for less than 30 percent of New College students. The remaining programs will move to the appropriate schools.

While there will be no “change in headcount,” there maybe changes to job descriptions, Director of Communications Mischelle Diaz said.

“There was significant research in looking at market trends to come to the decision,” Diaz said.

In the fall of 2012, there were 684 students enrolled in New College. That number was down to 309 in the fall of 2016, according to the university’s Fact Book. A saturated market lead to declining enrollment, Diaz said.

“There are dozens of different adult undergraduate programs both on the ground, online — the market changed,” Diaz said.

Fowler said the program was the principal place for people to come for years, but it got harder to compete, adding that many faculty members retired, which made it more difficult.

“It makes me very sad, but I understand the reasons why we got to this point,” Fowler said. “It probably is the correct moment to cut our losses since enrollment has been declining.”

A letter was sent out to students enrolled in New College. There should not be worries from students, Diaz said.

“They will be supported through the conclusion of their degree, especially for those programs that will be discontinued,” Diaz said.