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Marymount University board votes to axe theology studies


A Catholic liberal arts university in Virginia has decided to cut its theology studies program from its academic degree offerings, along with several other programs. 

Marymount University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously last week to adopt a proposal that cuts nine majors and a graduate studies program, including its theology and religious studies program, in keeping with a recommendation from the Academic Policy, Budget and Planning Committee.

A Marymount spokesperson told The Christian Post in an emailed statement Wednesday that the cuts were made because the programs “had consistently low enrollment and graduation rates.”

“Marymount University’s mission is unchanged. We will continue to prepare students for in-demand careers by offering them a robust education grounded in the liberal arts,” stated the university. “However, Marymount is making changes to better position the university for long-term growth and success. One of those is investing in programs with growth potential, aligned with student demand, to give Marymount a competitive advantage.”

Although the theology program was cut, Marymount explained in its statement that “the coursework — particularly in the humanities — is central to our mission and identity as a Catholic university and will remain part of Marymount’s core curriculum.”

“While these specific changes are not financially driven, they will provide the university the opportunity to redeploy resources to better serve students and areas of growth,” the statement continued. “We believe investing in programs that appeal to students and prepare them for highly sought-after professions is not only our mission but our responsibility.”

The resources cut from the programs will go to fund other programs, and the faculty impacted will remain on staff to teach core curriculum and interdisciplinary studies.

Students enrolled in the cut programs will not be impacted, and their required coursework will still be provided as they finish their degrees, the university added. 

According to Marymount, there are 74 students enrolled in the 10 programs being removed, of which 22 are scheduled to graduate in May.

In addition to Theology & Religious Studies, Marymount is also cutting its Bachelor of Arts degrees in art, English, history, philosophy, sociology, and Bachelor of Science in mathematics, and Master of Arts in English and humanities.

Marymount will also cut its Bachelor of Arts program in economics but will continue to offer a Bachelor of Science in economics. And while it will be cutting its Bachelor of Arts in secondary education, it will offer other programs, including a master’s in secondary education, and bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and special education.

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