By: Mikyla Khan
To the surprise of many Jenks students and teachers, the University of Tulsa implemented department cuts in humanities, liberal arts, and the fine arts in April. When schools come across times of financial need, the arts always seem to be the first put under the microscope.
One of the main reasons for department reductions was accredited to changes analyzed in student interest and demand. The arts are simply no longer a sought after major. The enrollment and graduation numbers in cut programs were relatively low.
“The less the school offers, the less students they are going to attract,” states Jenks High School’s band director Scott Hillock.
Hillock emphasized that TU is not the only option for Jenks students, or Oklahoma students who want to major in the arts. There are many other colleges and programs that place more emphasis on arts related programs and dedicate their schools to helping students pursue these careers.
Jenks senior Aiden Henderson has wanted to major in music since the seventh grade.
“It is disappointing to hear about all of the budget cuts that go straight to the arts. Without band I would just be your average senior who has no idea what they want to do with their life,” Henderson says.
Among the programs cut were Masters of Arts and Ph.D.s. The Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences has 15 departments and 68 degree programs, but the cuts will turn 6 departments into 5 and 20 degree programs into 10.
The natural sciences were also greatly affected by the cuts, where degree programs were cut in half. TU’s law school lost its master’s of jurisprudence and master’s of law programs, although the health sciences and engineering programs remain unchanged.
In a statement for the university’s strategic plan, Gerard Clancy, M.D., 20th President of The University of Tulsa stated that part of the plan is to forge a strong sense of community through enhanced access to high-quality education and celebrating humanity through the arts.
Although TU’s mission statement places emphasis on the arts, their funding does not. Many teachers argue that cutting out arts programs is detrimental to their students’ education. Hillock stressed that seniors looking to major in music or the arts must find a balance between cost, scholarship, and the quality of education you will receive.
“I am thankful everyday that I was raised in a community that supports the arts because of the positive impact they have had on my life,” says Henderson. “I am sure many Jenks students feel the same way.”
Jenks students should not be discouraged by one school in the area making cuts, because there is a world of options for all students to study their chosen major.
The Trojan Torch contacted TU staff, including Kirsten Olds, the Associate Dean at Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, but they did not respond to comment on the subject.
More information on the programs facing reductions can be found on the University of Tulsa’s website