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October 24, 2023 

Dear campus community: 

I want to thank you for your patience, your dialogue and your feedback over the past month, as the campus has responded to our financial stability plan. As difficult as it has been, this process is critical to securing our future, so we are glad to have been able to engage with our campus community through shared governance, and in collaboration with our student government. 

Regarding the program discontinuances that were originally proposed as part of our plan, I met with the Deans last week to review all of the input that we received regarding these proposals from those respective academic units, as well as from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  

Those recommendations were brought to the President’s Council for final campus deliberation on Friday, Oct. 20. As a result, the College has recommended the following actions: 


Four programs were recommended to be retained, as follows. Key performance indicators will be established for the four degree programs going forward. The President’s Council felt that those goals are attainable, given the proposals from those academic departments and based on demand for careers in these fields. 

  • Biochemistry (Bachelor of Science) 
  • Chemistry (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • Public Health (Bachelor of Science) 
  • Public Health (Master of Science) 


Under the deactivation policy, this program will enter into a three-year period in which it cannot accept new students, but will remain as a registered program. During this time, it is expected that a proposal could be developed to either revise the program or recommend its discontinuance. 

  • Arts Management (Bachelor of Arts) 


If approved by SUNY and the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the following programs would be discontinued, and be phased out over the next three to four academic years. 

  • Art History (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • Chemistry (Bachelor of Science) 
  • Dance (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • French (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • Music Performance (Master of Music) 
  • Philosophy (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • Physics (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • Spanish (Bachelor of Arts) 
  • Theatre (Bachelor of Arts) 

The final list of programs recommended for discontinuance or deactivation represent 3.9% of SUNY Potsdam’s total enrollment. 

All students in the impacted programs would be provided with individualized plans for degree completion. Every student currently enrolled in these programs has been contacted and is being connected with dedicated academic advisors. All current students will receive support to complete their degree here, enroll in a different major or transfer elsewhere, based on their personal circumstances and desires. All impacted students can graduate with a SUNY Potsdam degree in that field if they wish. 

It is also important to note that just because a program is discontinued does not mean that all positions associated with that area would be eliminated. The process can take several years, and even after it is complete, we will need to maintain some positions in impacted areas to support our General Education Program and other coursework needs.  

As with other areas across campus, there may be a reduction in faculty roles in the areas chosen to be retained as well, as we match our workforce to student need. 

The Provost’s Office will submit the Form 5 Deactivation and/or Discontinuation Proposal to SUNY and NYSED. We will notify campus when we hear back. 




Alan L. Hersker, Ph.D. 
Provost (interim) 
Office of the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs  
710 Raymond Hall