Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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The Silent but Deadly Curse of not being a Nursing or Education Major

Karalyn Kolstad
Phelps Hall, built in 1909, is home to Mass Communications and Psychology.

“Students can just find new majors” was allegedly uttered by Provost Newton, according to an anonymous liberal arts department chair. A meeting was held on Oct. 17, 2023 with the chairs of the Liberal Arts department. Provost Newton was invited, attended the meeting and answered questions that the chair members had.

The same anonymous chair as before stated that the provost spoke freely to them and said that due to budgetary restrictions, some liberal arts majors may be deleted. When asked about this, the provost said that these allegations are “moot” and that major deletion is “unlikely.”

“While all of us are addressing solutions to budgetary shortfalls as a campus, we are committed to working in partnership with faculty through the shared governance process,” Newton said. “I also think it’s important for students to know that any such decisions would be approached in a way that prioritizes our students’ learning experience and outcomes.”

Program deletion, although possibly not a future issue, has been an experience of budget reduction since 2019. Programs such as the Journalism major and the English graduate program have dissipated since the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with this, many faculty members have not been replaced in the Liberal Arts department, which does not parallel other colleges at this school that have had recent replacements.

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But this college sidelining does not come blindly, as the undergraduate enrollment numbers of each college since 2020 have drastically decreased, but the negative outlier is clear: The College of Liberal Arts.

For example, the number of students in The College of Business has dropped by 221 students, The College of Education has dropped 233, The College of Science and Engineering has dropped 257, The College of Nursing and Health Studies has dropped 214 and Uncategorized has dropped 96 students. The College of Liberal Arts has dropped 527 students.

But even with that said, the Liberal Arts still dominates enrollment as the college continues to have the highest enrollment out of all the colleges in 2023, having 260 more students than its competitor.

Dr. Kara Lindaman, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, claimed that it is the largest and strongest college in the system.

“Our college is the largest and the strongest college at Winona State University, because our students, faculty, and staff truly represent the core mission of higher education and the foundation of an educated and empowered individual and community,” Lindaman said.

Even so, faculty and students in the college have noticed a shift of power at Winona State going from a Liberal Arts based college to now a Nursing and Education based school.

President Janz confirms this suspicion, saying that the numbers show this. Adding on to this change, President Janz also talked about Winona State’s large deficit.

“Three years ago, Liberal Arts was our largest college, and now, Nursing is our largest college,” Janz said. “Overall, Winona State has a $7 million deficit. We have done $24 million in reductions in the past ten years, so this is something we have not done before.”

Multiple chair members shared their thoughts. Robert Wolf, the Department Chair of Economics and Finance, stated that they have not received any new faculty in the past four years. William Beatty, the Department Chair of Geoscience, said that they have also not received any new faculty members in the past four years (even having lost one). Steven Baule, the Department Chair of Education, said they hired eight or nine faculty members in the past three years.

The College of Nursing has 21 professors in Winona alone, 36 overall. Film Studies has two professors.

Matthew Lungerhausen, the Chairperson for the History and Legal Studies department, also said that his department has only had retirements (Greg Schmidt and Colette Hyman) and no new faculty members in the past five years.

“We’re worried that with the retirements that we have had, that we are not able to support the majors that we have,” Lungerhausen stated.

Patrick Clipsham, the Faculty Association President, talked about a new “strategic hiring process” that Winona State University is going to implement in their hiring process. Clipsham explained that this process will decide which positions to fill and which positions not to fill. “The details of what will happen to the majors that do not pass this process have not been given; that’s as much as I can say,” Clipsham said. Lungerhausen said that Greg Schmidt, a retired professor that left in 2020, was an expert in the American Republic, and that the department has not been able to offer those classes since because of the non-replacement.

“The same goes with Professor Hyman, we now don’t have anybody that can offer upper-level Native American history classes,” Lungerhausen said. “Professor Campbell teaches an intro to Native American history course, but he is probably going to retire in thenext couple of years. Then, Native American history will not be offered, which I think is a problem.”

Lungerhausen also mentioned that senior seminar, which is the capstone class for the history major, is now only offered spring semester instead of every semester due to low enrollment.

“I think the College of Liberal Arts is in a different position,” Lungerhausen said. “The College of Nursing and The College of Business have particular vocational outcomes they have outside accrediting, especially for nursing. I think they can make certain claims on the budget that College of Liberal Arts cannot because there is no such thing as ‘board certified historian.’”

Lungerhausen said that he started teaching in 2004 with eleven or twelve professors, and in the last five years, he has had a department of ten. He stated that in two years, there will be a department of seven.

“It’s not clear how the Liberal Arts fit in with Provost Newton’s aspirations for being this destination where people go to finish their degrees,” Lungerhausen stated. On Oct. 26, Provost Newton sent an email to faculty at Winona State stating that “there are no plans for retrenchments.”

“We will share more information on what Academic Affairs will do in the coming weeks and at the budget forum being scheduled for early March,” Newton said. “As long as the College of Liberal Arts is deprived of investment and faculty, especially compared to [the College of Nursing and the College of Business] that our majors will be impoverished,” Lungerhausen said

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About the Contributors
Sophia Sailer
Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

Sophia Sailer (she/her/hers) is currently the Editor-in-Chief at The Winonan.

Sailer is also a DJ for KQAL and hosts “Sippin’ with Sophie” on Saturdays from 3-6 PM. You’ll also catch Sailer at TV Services in Phelps, if you ever need to rent out a camera.

Sailer is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and is a fourth-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communication: Creative Digital Media as her major, and Advertising and Film studies as her minors. She loves talking to people and making sure their voices are heard and hopes to do that with her leadership at the Winonan.

Recently Sailer studied abroad for 2 weeks in Italy, creating art.

Sailer’s hobbies include listening to music, shopping, making art, and hanging out with friends.

Karalyn Kolstad
Karalyn Kolstad, Photographer
Karalyn Kolstad (she/her/hers) is a photographer for The Winonan. This is Karalyn's first semester with The Winonan. She is a third-year student at Winona State University majoring in Medical Laboratory Science. She is also the secretary of the Biology Club on campus. Outside of school, Karalyn enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching movies and reading. 

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    Jess WeisNov 15, 2023 at 11:46 am

    So very true- as a WGSS minor with ONE faculty member, I can’t imagine the stress of running an entire program on your own. PLUS not being compensated financially for that labor!