Food science major to be phased outEffective fall semester 2013, UW-River Falls officials have announced that the Food Science and Technology major program will end.
By: Phil Pfuehler - River Falls Journal, Pierce County Herald
RIVER FALLS - Effective fall semester 2013, UW-River Falls officials have announced that the Food Science and Technology major program will end.
Students in that field would still be able to get a minor.
Last week’s decision is part of the university’s broader effort to review
an array of academic programs during financially stressed times.
“Although the suspension of the Food Science program was supported by an
extensive review process on campus, the decision to suspend a program is
never easy,” Chancellor Dean Van Galen said. “However, the university must
be strategic in the use of its resources and be willing to change to ensure long-term excellence.”
Van Galen didn’t anticipate any staff layoffs as a result of the decision.
While the number of food-science majors varies from year to year, it averages just under 40 students.
Van Galen said the immediate cost savings is minor, but over time the decision will allow UW-RF to reallocate finances to other “academic priorities.”
Besides the chancellor’s role, UW-RF’s “suspension” of the food science and technology major was made on the recommendation of the College of
Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science (CAFES) and the Faculty
The Faculty Senate’s approval was by a large majority. It was then sent to the chancellor.
As part of an earlier comprehensive review of university programs in 2009-10, the Food Science and Technology program was among 20% of those programs recommended by the Faculty Senate for elimination, reduction or
According to Blake Fry, the chancellor’s special assistant, the recommendation was based on low student enrollment in the major; program integration with other academic offerings; and available resources.
The request to suspend the food science major was submitted by the Animal
Science Department to CAFES Dean Dale Gallenberg. It was then sent for action to the Faculty Senate, which assigned it for further review with the Academic Programs and Policies committee. After four meetings to review the recommendation, AP&P sent it back to the full Faculty Senate to vote on.
Current Food Science and Technology majors will be able to complete their
degree on schedule.
“We are intending to maintain a minor in food science,” Gallenberg said.
“Further, food science and food technology courses and capacity may be
incorporated to a greater extent into the Dairy Science and Meat Animal
programs, as well as other programs, such as Horticulture and Agricultural
Gallenberg reiterated that nobody is losing their job because of the program suspension and added that CAFES “fully intends to maintain capacity in food science and food technology in its curricula, staffing and programs.
“Our Food Pilot Plants will be maintained along with the opportunities for
students to work in these plants.”
The final decision on suspending the UW-RF food science program will be
made soon by the University of Wisconsin System administration in Madison.
By suspending the food science program, UW-RF has the option to restart it.
Van Galen said, however, that there are no plans to do so in this case.
Trying to put the decision in perspective, Gallenberg said, “While the
opportunities for students will indeed change with suspension of this program, there will still be exciting opportunities for students in food science and foodtechnology on our campus.”
Phil Pfuehler is editor of the River Falls Journal.