My opinion is that a liberal arts economics degree is a core academic program for any university:
Provost Lori Gonzalez's office on Monday released a list of Appalachian State University academic programs that ASU deans ranked as "most core" and "least core" for the university.
The composite rankings were developed as part of the ongoing program prioritization process at ASU that began in December 2011.
"That's not the final ranking," Gonzalez said last week, noting she would meet once more with the deans before submitting a report to Chancellor Ken Peacock.
The deans of ASU's seven colleges met with the provost at an Oct. 21 retreat, where each dean presented his or her individual rankings of the programs in his or her respective college.
The deans were then given a list of all the programs on campus and asked to identify programs they felt were in the top and the bottom quartiles -- i.e., programs they felt should be enhanced and programs they felt should be eliminated or consolidated.
Receiving the most votes (four or more) for undergraduate programs considered to be in the top quartile were, in descending order: English; elementary education; exercise science; psychology; nursing; history; sustainable development; music education; cell and molecular biology; risk management and insurance; communication studies; and communication: public relations.
Receiving the most votes (four or more) for undergraduate programs in the bottom quartile were, in descending order: Appalachian studies; women's studies; secondary health education; family and consumer sciences: secondary education; technology education; global studies; business education; biology: ecology, evolution and environmental biology; art management; apparel design and merchandising; philosophy; English: secondary education; mathematics: secondary education; history: social studies education; languages, literatures and culture: secondary education; economics; studio art; music therapy; and actuarial sciences.
Here is the comment I left at the newspaper website:
The economics degree listed above is the BA in economics, which is administered through the College of Arts and Sciences. There is also a BSBA degree in economics that is administered by the College of Business. Both degrees are supplied by the same Department of Economics in the College of Business, are under the same administrative code and the students take the same courses. More than ten other majors have BA and BS degrees with the same administrative code and were therefore, rightly, treated as the same major in the Deans’ ranking exercise. Since the BA and BSBA economics degrees are in different colleges, which is a unique situation in the university, they were treated as different degrees in the Dean’s ranking exercise. I tried to explain the inequity as soon as I understood how the economics degree was being treated differently, but the Deans’ who voted against economics either did not get the information or didn’t care that the BA in economics should be considered the same major as the BSBA in economics for this exercise. Since it wrongly appeared that there are two duplicative economics degrees on campus, economics was an easy vote to cast.