Senate president: universities should trade majors ‘like baseball cards’

In an attempt to address unemployment problems in Florida and shortfalls in the number of students filling out college applications for science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – degree programs, the Senate president recently suggested that universities trade majors to maximize academic resources, reports Inside Higher Ed.

The proposals were put forward by Mike Haridopolos, who is finishing his term as Senate president. Haridopolos' suggestions are part of wider higher education reforms being considered by state officials, which include plans to reduce the number of anthropology programs offered by Florida universities.

"If [universities] have a program that is kind of under served, why don’t they just talk to other universities and see if they have the same kind of program?" Haridopolos said, as quoted by the Orlando Sentinel. "Why not consolidate them on one campus, and then say ‘I’ll take your British history program, and you’ll take our medieval studies program.’ I just think that’s a common-sense way of doing things as opposed to top-down."

The education reform plans outlined by Governor Rick Scott have proven unpopular with students. According to Think Progress, students have rallied against plans to increase tuition by as much as 15 percent per year, as well as education budget cuts. The news outlet reports that the Florida public university system has seen a 24 percent reduction in state funding during the past four years.

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