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Waterbury School Seeks Move From Liberal Arts


Dostoevsky is out and the study of how to repair ligaments is in at a Waterbury university emphasizing for students a practical route to employment.

Post University next year plans to rework its curriculum to reduce offerings in literature and other liberal arts in favor of subjects such as business and management courses.

“We’re trying to do too many things for the size of our institution,” university President Jon Jay DeTemple said. “We want to make sure everybody has a job when they graduate from here, and they have good jobs.”

The school plans to gradually expand its programs in health care and sports management, where job demand is high, DeTemple said. High-level courses and majors in the humanities will probably be dropped.

“We still have to teach English, but we don’t need someone studying Dostoevsky for a semester,” DeTemple said.

News of the changes has met with resistance on campus where tuition for full-time day courses is $19,500 a year. Some angry students angrily left a recent information meeting called to explain the changes, according to some who attended.

“We really got no straightforward answers, except that the school is going to take a more business-oriented approach,” said Juan Andreu, a junior from Southbury. “We are all anxious.”

Nicole Sullivan, a freshman from Boston, said she believed officials tried to “sugarcoat” the plan and worries she’ll need to transfer to another school to continue studying equine management.

DeTemple said the academic choices will not be reduced for the remainder of students’ time at the university. No full-time faculty members will lose their jobs, but adjunct instructors may be affected, he said.

Plans also call for gradually raising the school’s enrollment, from 625 full-time students to between 800 and 900.

Many details of the new curriculum are not yet final and will require involvement from professors, DeTemple said. “We need faculty to fill in a lot of the blanks,” he said.

The school was sold more than a year ago by Japan’s Teikyo University to a group of Greenwich investors, shifting the university’s nonprofit status to for-profit.

School officials have said the school’s former mission of providing a global education will change “to provide rigorous professional education geared to the needs of traditional students and working adults.”

The idea for the change at the 115-year-old school came in part from an accreditation committee from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which recommended the school narrow its academic focus, DeTemple said.

Such a move also was supported by the school’s Board of Trustees.

Selim Noujaim, a member of the board’s curriculum committee, said the restructuring will let Post focus on its strongest subject areas.

“We need to reduce our offerings because we know that we cannot be all things to all people,” Noujaim said. “You have to evolve with the times.”

Associated Press

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