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UAlbany To Transition French, Russian and Theatre Programs From Majors to Minors

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 24, 2011) - President George M. Philip announced today the University at Albany would seek to preserve the University's programs in French, Russian and Theatre by creating a plan to transition them from academic majors to academic minors. Although new students will not be able to major or pursue a degree in these program areas, they will be able to study them as focused secondary subjects. The University also plans to continue instruction of the Italian language. These actions will insure that these program areas have a strong presence and expertise within the University.

Last October, as the University moved to absorb a more than $35 million reduction in state funding, it announced the suspension of enrollment to five academic areas: French, Russian, Italian, the Classics and Theatre. This action gave the University time to seek further consultation from campus constituents and evaluate its options.

"I regret we cannot afford to sustain all of our degree programs in these areas," said President Philip in a letter to the campus community. As the campus works to create the transition plan it will proceed with formal requests to SUNY System Administration to deactivate the five undergraduate majors in Theatre, French, Russian, Italian, and the Classics, as well as the graduate programs in Russian, French and the Classics.

The University remains committed to ensuring students currently enrolled in any of the deactivated degree programs will have the opportunity to complete their degree in the normal time frame. In addition, as the University attempts to restructure these programs and reallocate resources, every effort will be made to reduce the impact on the University's faculty and staff.

"These are challenging times for the University at Albany and the State University of New York," said Philip. By the end of fiscal year 2012, the University expects to eliminate the equivalent of another 160 full-time positions, bringing the campus total to more than 360 positions over the four-year period beginning in 2008. In an effort to protect the University's academic mission, it plans to have administrative and support units shoulder a higher percentage of the cost savings. The University has also issued a Request for Proposal for an independent consultant to provide recommendations for further efficiencies in its administrative structure and services.

The Executive Budget has directed another $131.5 million reduction to SUNY. If these cuts are allocated as they have been in the past, it could reduce the University at Albany’s state support by an additional $10.5 million. A listing of the reductions to date is posted on the budget update website: www.albany.edu/budget

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.