- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) - The University of Wisconsin-Superior is cutting nearly half of its graduate programs as it deals with a looming deficit.

Chancellor Renee Wachter said 11 of 25 graduate programs will be suspended, meaning the programs won’t admit any more students, but those currently enrolled will graduate. The programs include masters’ degrees in art history, communication, library media and reading.

The theater program is also under review, Wachter said.

“They do a tremendous amount of service for the community. It’s part of that vibrancy and quality of life. I think we have some fabulous alumni rolling up their sleeves to help pitch in,” she said.

Wachter said the university has to make up $4.5 million with either budget cuts or additional revenue in the next five years.

The university began a self-study in the fall of 2013 to identify areas for potential cost reductions.

“Our campus has to be prudent with the resources available to us,” Wachter said. “We must take action. These steps and discussions, while difficult, are necessary to protect and sustain the university’s quality as well as its presence in, and commitment to, the Superior region for decades to come.”

All 26 grounds and custodian workers have been notified that could possibly be laid off as the university studies outsourcing some areas, including management of the campus bookstore.

Wachter said a decline in state support, demographic challenges and budget decision made in previous years have contributed to the shortfall.

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