USF intends to continue offering ‘selective’ undergraduate programs in College of Education

After weeks of discontent and negative feedback from the community and school districts across the Tampa Bay area, USF President Steven Currall said Friday in a statement that the university will continue to offer “carefully selected” undergraduate programs in the College of Education (COE).

In the statement, also signed by Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox and Interim Dean of the College of Education Judith Ponticell, Currall said the university will further analyze the demand in the K-12 schools for graduates under the COE’s programs and will make “evidence-based decisions” in alignment with the data.

“While changes are needed at USF after a 63% drop in the college’s undergraduate enrollment over the past decade, we intend to continue offering carefully selected undergraduate degrees in education, though likely fewer than the nine baccalaureate degrees, 15 majors, five minors and 18 concentrations currently available,” Currall said in the statement.

The statement was released after a meeting between USF administration and Tampa Bay region school district superintendents to discuss the future of teacher education programs in the future. Since October, the university has been receiving an overwhelming amount of negative feedback from students, staff and school districts across the Tampa Bay area following its preliminary plan to eliminate all undergraduate programs from the COE and transition to a graduate program.

Besides the university continuing to offer certain education major programs at the COE, Currall said additional emphasis will be put into STEM education programs at the St. Pete campus.

While the decision is not yet final, it will be discussed during the next Board of Trustees’ meeting Dec. 8. Currall emphasized how the university will continue to meet with school superintendents, faculty, staff, students and community members to discuss the future of the undergraduate programs at the COE and teaching education across the Tampa Bay area. 

“As our university-wide process of strategic realignment moves forward, USF remains committed to our responsibility of meeting the needs of the surrounding communities while continuing to be responsible stewards of the university’s financial resources,” Currall said.