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Manchester pivots toward programs that appeal to today’s career-focused students

Manchester University is adding programs in the health sciences and others with strong potential.

“We are pivoting toward programs that prospective students want,” said President Dave McFadden. “Today’s high school students and their parents are looking for a place that offers a clear return on their investment, whether that’s a good-paying job right after commencement or acceptance into graduate school.”

McFadden, for example, announced last week that Manchester is working to add a Master of Science degree in nutrition and the emerging field of nutrigenomics, which studies the relationship between a person’s DNA, nutrition and health.

The Board of Trustees has approved a proposal to offer the five-year master’s degree program, with three years at the undergraduate level in North Manchester and two at the graduate level in Fort Wayne.

Manchester is also seeking accreditation for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which is in response to a nationwide shortage. It has added an online pharmacogenomics master’s degree, which will soon graduate its first class.

“Why are we doing this? One practical reason is that there is market opportunity: There is a critical shortage of health-care professionals, and exploding traditional and adult student interest in those professions. 

“More importantly,” McFadden said, “health-care professions align closely with our mission to graduate persons of ability and conviction who live lives that improve the human condition.”

Manchester also recently launched a master of accountancy degree that allows students to earn a master’s degree in four years, and a data science bachelor’s degree. It moved the master of athletic training program to the Fort Wayne campus and immediately saw results. 

“We are investing in programs that have the potential to grow,” McFadden said. “That means reinventing some existing majors and ultimately phasing out others. 

In its undergraduate realignment, Manchester is working on changes to the curriculum that will provide more flexibility for students. For example, some majors are being redesigned to make it easier to have a dual major – an option that is attractive to employers and students alike.

In order to invest in these changes, two faculty positions are scheduled for elimination at the end of this academic year and three will end at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. 

Six staff positions will be eliminated at the end of January 2020. The school will also freeze or eliminate some positions through attrition and some positions and offices will be consolidated over time. 

Those whose positions will be ending were notified today (Oct.29).

“Because of the faculty reductions, we expect that some majors will be phased out,” McFadden said. “Faculty committees are currently reviewing the latest information to identify what the next steps will be. All curricular changes require faculty approval before they are implemented.”

If any major is identified for closure, students who are currently in that major will be able to complete it, but no new majors in that area will be accepted after the decision is made. 

“The changes we are making – in academic programs and staffing – will keep us competitive for this and future generations of students,” McFadden said.

Faculty and others have proposed changes in many areas, including biology-chemistry, criminology, education, environmental studies, visual arts, music, exercise science and medical technology.

Long rooted in the liberal arts tradition, Manchester “is not abandoning the liberal arts but reimagining how they can be infused into all of our majors,” McFadden said. “We believe that skills such as critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution and an appreciation of cultural differences are timeless and necessary for success in a diverse and increasingly complex world.

“We look at the world of higher education today, where many smaller schools are in dire straits, and ask ourselves how we can thrive and meet the needs of the market, he said. “This path, this pivot, sets Manchester on a course to serve students for generations to come.”

Looking toward the future, Manchester is also investing in physical improvements that will enhance the student experience at its North Manchester campus. Manchester this fall dedicated the new Lockie and Augusta Chinworth Center and Arthur L. Gilbert College of Business, and it broke ground on a new athletic stadium. The Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center opened a year ago. It is currently finishing work on an eSports arena and has declared its intent to field two varsity-level teams this spring. Over the summer and into the fall, the school upgraded residence halls and food service areas.

About Manchester
With campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., Manchester University offers more than 70 areas of academic study to 1,400 students in undergraduate programs,a Master of Accountancy, a Master of Science in pharmacogenomics, a Master of Athletic Training a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a four-year dual degree in pharmacy and pharmacogenomics. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu

Our mission
Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

Oct. 29, 2019