Provost Brian Levin-Stankevich and EWU’s future academic plans

EWU+student+Aiden+Cook+stands+outside+the+music+and+arts+building.+Many+academic+programs+are+facing+budget+cuts.

Keri Kelly

EWU student Aiden Cook stands outside the music and arts building. Many academic programs are facing budget cuts.

By Emily Driskel, News Editor

Provost Brian Levin-Stankevich started at EWU in 1995 as vice provost. At that time, he started the EWU hockey club and continued to work in a variety of roles in administration until he left the university in 2006 to become the Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He retired in 2015.  

When the provost started working at EWU again in September, he was told he had two weeks to prepare recommendations based on data related to enrollment, number of majors, and the cost of various majors.

Levin-Stankevich said he is focusing on degree complexity and what classes students need to take in order to graduate on time. 

Are there hidden prerequisites?” said Levin-Stankevich. “Are there too many prerequisites? Are they necessary? Are the courses offered in the right sequence in the right times?”

“Are there too many prerequisites?” -Provost Brian Levin-Stankevich

It is important to ensure that students can go from point A to point B to point C, said Levin-Stankevich. He wants EWU to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a clearer plan for helping students stay on track for graduation, eliminating academic redundancies that may delay graduation.

Levin-Stankevich said it is important to him that students can get a higher education at EWU who otherwise may not have access to college. 

It’s one of the reasons that I’m back,” said Levin-Stankevich. “I think it’s an important mission and one that I took very seriously and still do.”

Students have been hit hard this past year due to the pandemic and the closure of small businesses. Levin-Stankevich said this is a challenge to the university to keep the enrollment up. 

Though EWU announced it is eliminating some majors, Levin-Stankevich said he wished the university could keep them all. 

“The problem is we can’t afford to be all things to all people anymore,” said Levin-Stankevich. 

There is a process at the university through the faculty senate to review the programs that were recommended for discontinuation. 

A student does classes on her computer in the PUB. (Keri Kelly)

“That process has been underway now since October and [EWU] will be moving into a second stage of that process soon,” said Levin-Stankevich. 

In the meantime, faculty members have had suggestions on how to save certain resources. 

“The board of trustees has given us a target of reductions that we need to meet this year and next year,” said Levin-Stankevich. “A lot of reductions were already made in the prior years so it really does come down to curriculum.”

President David May will use the recommendations from faculty members to present to the Board of Trustees this June. 

Levin-Stankevich said it is really important that students will get to finish their major, and EWU will continue to offer those courses so students may finish their degrees. 

“At some point we won’t accept any new students into a major,” said Levin-Stankevich. “But we have a commitment to the current students and an obligation to our accreditation agency to make sure that we teach out the major.”

Levin-Stankevich said this is a situation where EWU needs to meet some budget reductions.

Board of Trustees Chair Uriel Iniguez and former President Mary Cullinan listening to the first read of the budgets. They voted to approve the 2019 budget in June. (Taylor Newquist)

“The goal is not to do this in a reactive or crisis mode,” said Levin-Stankevich. “The goal is to do this on a regular basis when we are changing to meet student interest patterns.”

The administration will get in a process of reviewing the academic programs on an annual basis. It is important to keep programs accessible for students. 

Levin-Stankevich said there have already been a number of layoffs this year as well as a voluntary retirement program. This has been an ongoing process, and there are additional targets this year.

Although in-person classes are still up in the air, the Provost said he is excited to see students and faculty members on campus again. He said he knows online learning can be stressful, and he has been in contact with ASEWU regarding students’ experiences.

He encourages students to contact academic affairs with their concerns. 

“We need to hear what students are experiencing so we can address any issues that are coming up,” said Levin-Stankevich. 

It is harder to know how students are learning without the ability to walk into the classrooms, according to the provost.

“We want to make sure you are learning what you need to learn and prepare to move on when we get back to in person classes,” said Levin-Stankevich.