Dear Drake University community, 

As a follow-up to President Martin’s Feb. 7, 2024, message detailing the University’s financial sustainability and outlining Drake’s path forward to ensure its future success, I am providing an update on our institutional review of academic programs. 

To ensure Drake’s future as a mission-driven institution that provides outstanding educational opportunities, an academic program review was launched in November 2023 in partnership between faculty governance, administration, and the Drake Board of Trustees. The review process is one of several measures the University is taking to reach a balanced operating budget by July 2025.  

Today (March 1), I shared with the faculty and staff preliminary recommendations for changes to academic programs. Of the 4% of current students enrolled in these programs, each one will be provided with a plan to complete their degree on time. Prospective students interested in these programs will have alternative program options with similar learning outcomes and career opportunities and will receive individual communications, advising, and support for their decisions.  

 Academic programs recommended for discontinuance: 

Undergraduate Majors 

  • Anthropology/Sociology (ANSO) 
  • Astronomy 
  • Physics 
  • Religion 
  • Rhetoric 
  • Health Care Administration 

Undergraduate Minors 

  • Anthropology 
  • Religion 
  • Rhetoric 
  • East Asian Studies 

Graduate Majors 

  • Master of Accountancy 
  • Master of Public Administration 

Graduate certificate 

  • Evidence-based Health Care  

Next Steps 

I want to emphasize these are only recommendations at this point. In adhering to AAUP guidelines, faculty in programs recommended for discontinuance may submit evidence between March 1 and April 1, in support of a claim that retaining the program is in the best interest of the institution. Faculty governance committees, the deans, and I will review feedback before providing final recommendations to Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees. On April 17, Faculty Senate will vote on the recommendations. Following Faculty Senate’s vote, President Martin will review the recommendations before presenting such to the Board of Trustees at their April meeting. President Martin will communicate the Board’s final decisions to campus on April 29. 

As President Martin stated in his message in early February, higher education is at a crossroads. With a declining high school population, inflation, and growing public scrutiny related to disinformation around the value of a college degree, institutions across the country must adapt and change. Academic program reviews serve as an essential process necessary to ensure we are meeting students’ interests, societal needs, and providing the highest quality educational programs.  

While this work demands that we make difficult decisions, it also presents an opportunity to invest in academic innovation that aligns with institutional strengths and meets evolving needs of Drake students and the communities where they will engage. Earlier this week Drake launched an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program to address the national nursing shortage and growing demand for high-quality nursing education. We recently invested in other new programs, including artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. These programs exemplify the University’s commitment to create academic offerings built upon institutional strengths, address student interests and societal needs, and ensure Drake students are prepared to graduate ready to make a difference in the world.   

Drake University has navigated through many challenging periods in our 143-year history. Each time, struggles notwithstanding, the University has grown stronger. As we work together to face this most recent challenge, I’m confident we will leave a mission-focused legacy for another 143 years and beyond.  

Sue Mattison, Ph.D.