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WAU to Place 15 Degree Programs “On Hold,” Reduce Faculty/Staff Positions


Washington Adventist University announced Wednesday, March 6, 2019, that it would be placing 15 degree programs “on hold pending required enrollment” and subsequently reducing three positions (two faculty and one staff member). Seven other positions will be “re-assigned internally, remain unfilled or be eliminated as the proposed changes are implemented.” The statement notes that placing these degrees on hold “will not eliminate the possibility of being reactivated, consistent with student demand.”

The announcement came as part of the 2019-2020 Budget Report presented to the Board of Trustees by Dr. Weymouth Spence, president of WAU.

The statement follows in full below, and is also available on WAU’s website:

WAU Statement
Budget Report 2019-2020

At the March meeting of the Washington Adventist University Board of Trustees today, Dr. Weymouth Spence presented a preview of the 2019-2020 budget. His presentation emphasized the university leadership team’s unwavering commitment to student success and recapped the growth seen in recent years.

Over the last decade, WAU’s retention rate has risen from 56% to 79%. WAU has invested over $30 million in infrastructure enhancements, physical plant renovation and new construction. Net assets for WAU have increased or risen from $15.9 million to $38.4 million since 2008. WAU also experienced an enrollment growth rate of 10%, the highest of any Adventist education institution for the current school year.

In his report, Dr. Spence also reiterated WAU’s commitment to staying current in an ever-changing educational landscape through student-centric learning. Growth and success for any institution of higher education will result in the necessity for adjustments and progressive movement, he said. Through annual assessment, WAU makes adjustments to virtually every aspect of the tapestry that comprises the fabric of our campus. As WAU moves to ensure 21st century relevancy for our current and future students, institutional adjustments will allow for the university to be agile and thrive.

Dr. Spence reported that of the 63 degrees ( offered at the university, significant growth is seen in disciplines such as Nursing, Medical Imaging, Psychology, Pre-law and Music. He noted that there are fifteen programs that will be placed on hold pending required enrollment.

• Associates Degrees: Arts General Studies; Science General Studies; Applied Science: Computer Science; Applied Science: Information Systems; Applied Science: Accounting

• BA: Music Education; Physical Education; Philosophy Religion; Mathematics

• BS: Physical Education; Math Education; Medical Lab

• MA: Public Administration; Religion; Nursing Education

• REACH Columbia Union School of Evangelism

Current students will continue to be taught as required to finish their degree.

This list includes several associate degree programs that have become less relevant in the workforce and are typically offered at community colleges. Eight undergraduate and fourteen graduate students are currently within the programs which will be placed on hold. These students will continue to complete their WAU degree. Placing these degrees on hold will not eliminate the possibility of being reactivated, consistent with student demand. 

As a result of these adjustments, WAU will reduce three positions, impacting two faculty and one staff member. Seven other positions will be re-assigned internally, remain unfilled or be eliminated as the proposed changes are implemented.  

Administration also announced that incorporated in WAU’s increased 2019-2020 budget, are cost of living increases, an increase in faculty compensation (as recommended by the Faculty Rank and Review Committee) and new student resources. This includes graduation success support, external scholarship counseling, student mental health education and improved, state-of-the-art WIFI infrastructure. 

All of these steps will be taken to ensure the continued viability of Columbia Union’s flagship educational institution and the health of the greater WAU learning community as we work to ensure an enduring impact on the community and world around us.

We will continue to strive for intentional transparency, direct communication and collaborative planning with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community as we anticipate the challenges and opportunities of Vision 2030.

For a list of the 2019-2020 program offerings, visit .

For more information, contact Richard Castillo, Vice President for Integrated Marketing and Communication:

Below is a list of our degree offerings at WAU. Degrees on hold/teach out are identified with (**).

Associate of Arts (A.A.)**

General Studies


Social Science

Associate of Science (A.S.)**

General Studies

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)

Computer Science**

Information Systems**


Radiologic Technology

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)



Early Childhood Education /Special Education

Elementary Education /Special Education


English Education

General Studies




Mathematics Education


Music Education**

Political Studies

Physical Education **


Public Communication

Intercultural Communication

Public Relations

Religion /Metropolitan Ministry

Theology /Pastoral Ministry; Metropolitan Ministry

Philosophy of Religion**

Bachelor of Music (B.M.)

Music Education

Music Performance

Music Therapy – Anticipated Spring 2019

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)




Business Administration /Entrepreneurship;

Finance; International Business; Management; Marketing


Computer Science

Counseling Psychology

Fitness & Sport Science

General Studies

Health Care Administration

Health/Fitness Management

Health Science

Information Systems


Mathematics Education**

Medical Laboratory Science**


Physical Education**

Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Master of Arts

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Master of Arts in Health Care Administration 

Master of Arts in Public Administration**

Master of Arts in Religion**

Master of Business Administration

Master of Business Administration

Master of Science

Master of Science in Nursing and Business Leadership

Master of Science in Nursing Education**


Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County’s only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. Approximately 1,100 students of all faiths participate in the university’s nine graduate and 42 undergraduate programs. The 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.



Alisa Williams is managing editor of

Image courtesy of WAU.


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