By Melanie J. Knox, Page Editor
The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is facing the challenge of taking apart a program that has been in place since 1915.
Last year, it and the Department of Industrial Technology were told they would be closing. The first majors and programs are beginning to be phased out this year.
Dr. Marianna Rasco, FCS Department chair, said that at first, the loss of the majors was shocking to the students and that they went through a grieving process. However, she said, they are now moving forward optimistically.
“We are not whiners,” Rasco said.
Three of the majors in the FCS Department will be moved into other departments. Four others are being phased out.
“Another one of the challenges we are facing right now is to help students complete their degrees and graduate,” Rasco said.
The ITEC Department, meanwhile, will be closing all its majors, associate degrees and composite majors.
“The students initially felt quite a bit of concern-anger perhaps,” said Dr. James Cooke, chair of the department. “It has since subsided, and some students have decided to go elsewhere and some are finishing out their program with us, depending on where they were in their degree plan.”
Two full-time faculty, two part-time faculty members, one staff member, and several student workers in the department are preparing to find other work once it closes.
Cooke said he plans to stay on at ACU, choosing from several options, such as continuing to teach environmental science classes or industrial design.
Both departments said they are working hard to help the students graduate and obtain the courses they need to graduate within their degree plan.
“We are very dedicated to the students that are in the program and that they get the best quality education that we can afford them,” Cooke said. “As the end comes near, we are experiencing death by degree, since we are having fewer and fewer students.”
“It’s going to be difficult,” she said. “I’ve only been involved in building up the department, never taking it apart. But we are remaining optimistic, and seeing the upside of this for the university.”