"It's always been a small program here at the college," Richard said. "But, that shouldn't be taken as a measure of the strength of the Canadian Studies program, because we offer a number of courses. Typically, 600-700 students a year take courses with a Canadian Studies prefix."
The suspension of the Canadian studies major - which Richard said there has been no indication it will be reinstated - will begin this fall with the 2011-12 academic year and is something Richard considers a major loss for the university.
"SUNY Plattsburgh was one of only two institutions of higher education in the United States to offer a major in Canadian Studies," Richard said, adding the other is at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. "So, this is part of our identity here at the college and part of what distinguishes us amongst the SUNY institutions."
Emily O'Hara, a senior at Plattsburgh State majoring in the Canadian studies program, said she considered the dropping of the Canadian studies major "truly unfortunate news."
"The program, which often receives funding from external sources in the form of grants and co-operative partnerships, has established a credible reputation at SUNY Plattsburgh," said O'Hara, who called the program "one of the most comprehensive and multi-disciplinary regional studies programs in the country."
The Canadian Studies program has "ingrained" itself in campus culture, said O'Hara, and its removal from the curriculum will affect more people than only those who are majors or minors in the subject. O'Hara said she's aware of the university's current financial situation and added she is "confident that the school's administrators are making their best professional judgment in their decision-making process." However, O'Hara did add she has concern for other courses being cut.
"I just hope that this decision does not parlay into or form a pattern of cutting additional degree programs in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences," she said.