D.C. — Howard University is concluding the broadest academic review in its 143-year history, hoping to shed weak programs and bolster strong ones in order to compete in the increasingly fierce contest for America’s top black scholars.
Howard offers 171 academic programs, an uncommonly large number for a university of 10,500 students. The range is a product of the institution’s historic role as the epicenter of African American scholarship. But university leaders believe that the sheer number of offerings has become unwieldy, draining resources better spent pursuing excellence in core areas.
Howard will still turn out many of the nation’s African American doctors and dentists, psychologists and engineers. But the university is considering cutting its undergraduate programs in philosophy, anthropology, the classics and even African studies – a specialty with symbolic importance to many in the Howard community. The school is keeping African American studies.