I work in higher ed and years ago I got an AAS in systems administration. When I graduated from the program I was the only person to graduate from that department in 5 years. I don't know how it survived that long but the degree was cut about a year ago when we merged with a larger university.
One thing I have learned about becoming a part of a large research university is that if you don't generate money or grants you get put on the chopping block. Especially when you depend on legislative funds that have been cut each year since the recession started. Its the nature of higher ed in lean times. Programs that could coast by on low enrollment numbers and graduation rates when times were good are now in serious trouble especially those who have a large amount of faculty and low program enrollment. The numbers from the article explain a lot too: 12 professors, 100 enrolled majors, and only 40 graduates a year? That is some serious fat to be trimmed and if some of those professors are tenured then its much harder to get rid of them. I can see the administration keeping the program if they generate revenue by other means such as grants or research projects but if they don't then if I were an administrator I would get rid of it too.
Robot Chicken predicted this long ago...
I work for a small mental health company in Utah that serves 3 counties. When we setup our telemedicine system we significantly reduced our costs. We no longer have to pay as much for travel and hotels for our doctors, they just see clients over telemed no matter which county they are in. Their workload hasn't increased much but now they spend less time traveling and more time with clients. Our clients aren't weirded out by fact they are talking to a tv and camera because the cameras are very high quality and that allows both sides to pick up on facial queues which goes along way for trust and understanding. Most clients say they are extremely happy that they can see their doctor and get the help they need.
The system was paid for, and is maintained, communication lines and all, with federal grants. I am amazed at how much we save just on the T1 lines alone which comes close to 100K a year.
This is something that the government got right, finally.
I was surprised not to see a "In Soviet Russia..." joke, then again this article is pretty fresh.