By Victoria Martin, News Editor
The Art Education program will be closed as of Sept. 2018 according to a memo passed through academic council and approved during a faculty meeting on Friday, March 2.
With a major drop in enrolment and budget cuts, the program cannot afford to continue according to Chair of EC Department of Art and Director of Art Education Mary Lou Stewart’s memo.
“[...] Although there has been enhanced interest in the program,” Stewart wrote, “the art department is unable to maintain this small program due to past budget cuts and lacking a critical mass of students to teach the required methods courses.”
“[This decision] is not an easy outcome for me, I [have] been directing this program for over twenty years and we have some terrific art teachers”
-Mary Lou Stewart
Over the past seven years, according to the memo, the number of enrolled students in the program has dropped from 13 in 2010 to five in 2018 with an average of two students all the other years.
On top of the decreased number of enrolled students, the Illinois State Board of Education [ISBE] plans on making changes to their program standards that would make licensing difficult on a department whose staff is 53 percent adjunct.
“ISBE requires a full time faculty member to be responsible for each content/licensure area and therefore this position cannot be assigned to an adjunct faculty member,” Stewart wrote.
Stewart had discussed the changes and issues prior to faculty meeting with Dean of Faculty April Edwards, who did not comment due to time constraints when asked by The Leader about the changes being made to the program.
“After discussing these issues with [Edwards],” Stewart wrote, “she contacted the Education Department and Admissions and she shared with me that they confirmed their support for closing the Art Education program.”
Despite the changes and closing of the program, Stewart plans to continue “to support the current art education students’ progress through the program.”
“[This decision] is not an easy outcome for me,” Stewart writes. “I [have] been directing this program for over twenty years and we have some terrific art teachers working in the community [...].”