The Nov. 16 editorial “Shake-up at UDC” was incomplete. It is clear that the University of the District of Columbia requires yet another shake-up. The most recent was in 2010, and that failed plan is now being scrapped.
The draft Vision 2020 strategic plan suggests some needed drastic cuts, as noted in the editorial, but it is misguided in other respects. For example, it makes major cuts in scientific and public-policy areas that are essential to meeting the stated goal — maintaining a premier public university for the District.
The proposed elimination of majors in chemistry, physics and statistics and in environmental science’s water resources, sustainability and certain other concentrations would guarantee the university second-class status at best. That would significantly weaken UDC’s ability to attract good students and faculty and to survive as a credible university. Basic sciences are fundamental to many other disciplines, and their weakening would limit the relevance of the other programs and the ability to produce qualified graduates to compete in their chosen fields.
Vision 2020 should not be the template for the board’s decision-making. The board should accept the concept of remaking UDC, then mandate that it be improved by the advice of an independent, diverse group of experts who understand what it takes to succeed in a competitive world.
Joseph Cotruvo, Washington