EMPORIA (KSNT) In an effort to combat a national trend in declining college enrollment Emporia State University has combined two programs to create a degree in history and political science.

The current history and political science programs were combined which will allow students to work toward a Bachelor of Science in History & Government. The new program was approved in November by the Kansas Board of Regents and will launch in 2023, according to a spokesperson for the university.

“This type of initiative is exactly what Emporia State needs as we work to build a university with a solid future,” said ESU President Ken Hush. “Faculty in these programs saw data showing declining enrollment and designed a forward-thinking solution.”

The new program will be divided into three components:

  • American History & Government: which focuses on U.S. history with classes on the presidency, U.S. Constitution, and politics.
  • World History & Government: with classes in European history, medieval history, and China plus classes in comparative government and the Politics of Asia.
  • Ideas & Institutions: with classes on a variety of different areas including political parties and constitutional law.

According to the university, the new undergraduate program will prepare students for careers in public service, politics, government and government relations as well as graduate programs in history, political science, law school and library science.

“We are excited to be able to offer this new program, which we believe offers the breadth of knowledge, in-depth study and hands-on learning experiences which will set up graduates very well for a variety of career opportunities,” said Dr. Greg Schneider, Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor of history and ESU government relations officer.

In September of 2022, ESU’s new President Ken Hush met with the Kansas Board of Regents and claimed “extreme financial pressures placed on universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, decreased program and university enrollment,” putting ESU in a precarious position financially.

Hush sought the approval of the Kansas Board of Regents to suspend, dismiss, or terminate any university employee based on factors including low enrollment, cost of operations, reduction in revenues for specific departments or schools and current or future market considerations. These considerations include the need for a program or department, restructuring of a program, department or school as determined to be necessary, realignment of resources and performance evaluations, teaching and researching productivity, low service productivity or conduct of the employee.

By Sept. 30, the university started suspending academic programs, following the dismissal of 33 faculty and staff members on Sept. 16.