ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Hardin-Simmons University had made the decision to end certain undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as close their campus extensions, to offset financial difficulty.

Environmental Science, Geology, Medical Illustration, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Sociology, Spanish, and Bachelor of Music in Performance undergraduate programs will be ending, and graduate programs in English, History, Math, and Environmental Management will also no longer be offered by the University. 

In additional to the programs endings, Logsdon Seminary campuses in Coppell, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, and McAllen along with the Acton MBA Program in Austin, are set to close. 

These cuts were finalized by HSU Board of Trustees members last week. 

In an email to HSU faculty, staff, students, and alumni, Hardin-Simmons president Eric Bruntmyer  cites ‘evaporating revenue’ and the ‘changing landscape of higher education’ as the reasoning behind the board member’s decision.

His entire email is as follows: 

Dear HSU Family,
As you know, the HSU Board of Trustees met on campus Thursday and Friday of last week to consider the business of the university. Included in these deliberations were program and personnel reductions proposed as part of HSU’s process in seeking to re-steward resources.
From the deans who proposed recommendations, to administrators who vetted and managed the recommendations, to Trustees who ultimately approved the recommendations, there has been constant awareness that these difficult decisions carry an impact on current personnel and future students. While every effort has been made to communicate clearly throughout this process, I grieve the anxiety some on campus have still experienced. This process has been challenging for our entire HSU family.
These decisions, which weigh heavy on us all, also help prepare HSU to more effectively meet the ever-expanding multitude of challenges to higher education.
For example, some external revenue sources are evaporating. The Texas Equalization Grant Program, designed to help students of need access private higher education, has reduced funding to HSU by more than $1.2 million annually when compared to 2007 funding levels. Last month, the Baptist General Convention of Texas (HSU’s denominational partner since 1941 who elects a simple majority of HSU Trustees) notified HSU that due to a 6% decrease in Cooperative Program receipts, it was eliminating pro-rata funding for all Texas Baptist-partnering universities. Annual gifts to HSU from the BGCT have decreased by more than $500,000 annually when compared with 2007 levels.
Likewise, while HSU understands the value of Christian higher education includes both holistic growth and professional preparation, there are many today who would focus only on the latter as the singular metric for measuring relevance. The changing landscape of higher education demands we move forward with integrity in our mission and vision, as well as precision in program offerings, so students can continue to be prepared and equipped for an ever-changing professional landscape.
With these considerations in mind, I wanted to let you know HSU Trustees have approved the closure of several academic programs and campus extensions recommended by the deans, vice presidents, and myself. Each decision was made with consideration to impact, enrollment, and profitability. 
Undergraduate program majors (# of current majors indicated parenthetically) in Environmental Science (1), Geology (13), Medical Illustration (0), Philosophy (5), Physics (3), Political Science (23), Sociology (3), Spanish (8), and Bachelor of Music in Performance (6) will be closed. This does not affect any associated academic minors. 
Graduate programs (# of current program participants indicated parenthetically) in English (6), History (3), Math (4), and Environmental Management (7) will also be closed. Comprehensive changes in delivery methods and the preferred areas of professional concentration of traditional graduate education have accelerated the need for change in these areas.
Five campus extensions will also be closed: Logsdon Seminary campuses in Coppell, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, and McAllen along with the Acton MBA Program in Austin. 

Any student currently enrolled in one of these programs will be offered the opportunity to complete their major program of study (“teach-out”) with no impact on educational quality. Future students with interest in these areas will be encouraged to explore similar available majors, or areas of minor focus, that match their educational goals.
As mentioned, these closures are also being coupled with personnel reductions to help accomplish specific financial goals. Some of these personnel reductions correlate with program and campus closures while others will occur as a result of departmental budget decreases.
Tenured faculty have been offered buyout options should they have interest. No tenured faculty are being fired. Rather, each has been presented a full range of details related to buyout opportunities and each will have the option to accept or reject at this time. Non-tenured faculty impacted by reductions will not be offered a contract buyout, but will be allowed to complete the duration of their current contract.
Staff members affected will be provided 14-20 weeks of severance depending on their length of service to HSU along with options for limited continuation of selected benefits including the Institutional Family Grant. Since the beginning of this process, I have worked hard to make community and business leaders aware of the availability of transitioning staff. This process in no way reflects on the value of any person, and our community partners are eager to receive applications from HSU staff impacted by this process.
I am sharing this information today with all HSU boards, faculty, staff, students, and alumni so each will know more about the actions taken by the HSU Board of Trustees in this matter. Administration and trustees will continue observation and monitoring of ongoing challenges faced by higher education which may have impact on the university’s future financial health.
Projections resulting from the recommendations accepted indicate this process has met all specific goals established, allowing HSU to accomplish greater financial stability as well as the capacity for future growth in providing an Education Enlightened by Christian Faith and Values.
Should you have questions about program-related decisions, please feel free to contact HSU’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Christopher McNair. To protect the privacy of transitioning employees, and since some tenured faculty are still considering buyout options, HSU will not release additional information about specific employees who may be impacted by personnel reductions.
Thank you for your continued support of HSU during this difficult process.

Hardin-Simmons declined to give KTAB and KRBC an on-camera interview regarding the program and campus cuts.

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