To: Carmen Wilson VanVoorhis, Faculty Senate Chair

From: Thomas Gendreau, Program Array Review Committee Chair

Re: Recommendations of the Program Array Review Committee

 

Attached are the recommendations of the ad hoc Program Array Review Committee. The recommendations were approved by a vote of  6/0/1. Below I listed a brief timeline of some of our activities.

 

Summer 2003: The committee was created by the SEC during the summer of 2003. The initial motivation was the concern that UWL would be required to cut programs as a result of the state budget crisis. The need to cut programs did not occur but the committee continued its work. From the beginning the committee agreed that any program array review process should include all UWL activities and should focus on evaluating UWL programs on both quality and cost.

 

The original members of the committee were John Betton, Georges Cravins, Thomas Gendreau, Mark Gibson, Delores Heiden, Elizabeth Hitch, Sandy Krajewski, and Pam Rogers. Pam Rogers resigned from the committee because of other commitments.

 

Fall 2003: The discussion primarily focused on criteria that could be used to evaluate programs and how to define the term program for those activities performed by units other than academic departments.

 

Spring 2004: The committee continued the discussion started in the Fall and met with representatives from Student Services, Information Technology, Continuing Education and the Budget Office to discuss how these units define and evaluate programs. We made a report to the Faculty Senate on our progress. Part of that report requested permission to ask Information Technology and Student Services to create a list of services they offer and criteria used to evaluate the services.

 

Fall 2004: The committee asked John Tillman and Petra Roter for additional information about how Information Technology and Student Services define and evaluate services in their units. We discussed the Academic Program Review process and the Academic Planning Committee process. We reviewed procedures from the Academic Priorities Committee (the former name of the Academic Planning Committee)

 

Spring 2005: We met with the Chairs of APR and APC to discuss the Program Array Review committee's work. The committee met with John Tillman and Petra Roter to discuss their reports on services in their units. We made a report to the Faculty Senate. We recommended that the Academic Planning Committee adopt the Academic Priorities Committee's procedures for reviewing new program proposals and for reviewing proposals for program elimination. We requested permission to ask for information about services and costs from Advancement, Affirmative Action & Diversity, the Library, Human Resources, International Education, the Provost Office, the CBA Dean's Office, the CLS Dean's Office and the SAH Dean's Office

 

Summer 2005: We received information about services and costs from  the Library, Human Resources, the Provost's Office, the CBA Dean's Office, the CLS Dean's Office and the SAH Dean's Office.

 

Fall 2005: We reviewed the material submitted by the Library, Human Resources, the Provost Office, the CBA Dean's Office, the CLS Dean's Office and the SAH Dean's Office.

 

 


Recommendations of the ad hoc Program Array Review Committee (10/10/2005)

 

1. The review process must include all UWL budgeted programs and activities.

 

2. There are two uses of the review process. The first use is to maintain and improve the quality of all UWL programs. The second use is to identify programs that could be reduced or cut in the event of budget problems.

 

3. The review of academic programs should primarily focus on the quality of individual programs. Programs that are determined to be of low quality may be candidates for additional resources or candidates for elimination depending on their centrality to the UWL mission.

 

4. The review of service programs should primarily focus on how those programs support the academic mission of UWL. Programs that are determined to be of low quality may be candidates for elimination or candidates for additional resources if the are considered essential to the operation of the institution or are legally mandated.

 

5. The Academic Program Review (APR) process and the Academic Planning (APC) process should continue as the means for reviewing academic programs. The APR process can be used to review the quality of existing academic programs. The APC process already includes processes for reviewing proposals for the creation of new academic programs and for the elimination of existing academic programs.

 

6. The APR process needs to be strengthened. Maintaining the quality of the academic programs is the responsibility of the Faculty. To meet that responsibility all programs should be reviewed on a regular basis. The reviews need to be an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each program. The current APR process seems to include most of requirements for a careful review but the implementation seems inconsistent. To improve the process we propose the following.

           

            a. APR reports need to be done on time. This means departments should submit reports to the committee early in the Fall semester of the year in which they are due. The committee should spend the Fall and early Spring semesters reviewing the department reports and report to the Faculty Senate in the middle of the Spring semester. It is not good for the process to have the Faculty Senate rush through reports at the end of April or early May.

 

            b. There should be negative consequences to departments that do not complete their APR reports on time.

 

            c. When APR reports indicate problems, they need to be addressed. If the Faculty Senate approves an APR report that identifies problems with a program, then during the following academic year the Provost should report to the Faculty Senate about the actions that have been taken to address the problems. In extreme cases the APR may recommend that a program be cut or eliminated. If the Faculty Senate approves such a report, the program would be sent to the APC and the APC process for program elimination should be followed.

 

            d. APR reports should include the cost of each program. Departments should assign costs to the programs they offer such as majors, minors, graduate programs and general education offerings. The Faculty Senate should charge the APR committee with
developing a cost reporting instrument that all academic departments can use.

 

            e. After APR reports are approved by the Faculty Senate a summary of the report should be sent to Joint Planning & Budget. The summary should include a statement about the APR committees findings, the costs of the programs offered by the department and other data used by APR (number of majors, student credit hours, etc.)

 

7. A parallel process to APR and APC should be created for service programs. Service programs (in past reports they were referred to as non-academic programs) include any UWL activity that consumes resources and is not reviewed by the APR process. In order to do service program reviews we propose following.

 

            a. All the units that offer service programs must identify the services offered and the costs associated with each service. This will be a difficult task but most of the work will only have to be done once. After a list of all the services is created it can be maintained in the same way the majors, minors, course descriptions, etc. are maintained by the academic programs.

 

            b. Each service program should identify how it substantively supports the UWL mission and identify any legal mandates it fulfills.

 

            c. A new committee should be created that periodically reviews service programs. A schedule identifying when programs are reviewed should be created. Like the APR this committee should strive to identify strengths and weaknesses of programs. When problems are identified they must be addressed by the leader of the unit that houses the service program. In extreme cases the committee may recommend that a service program be reduced or eliminated. This committee should make recommendations to Joint Planning & Budget. The committee members should include academic staff, classified staff, faculty and students.

 

8. Items 6 and 7 propose that the costs associated with both academic programs and service programs be identified. When we asked some units to do this, it was difficult for the units to distinguish between positions and programs. It is important to focus on the costs of programs. When one position works for many programs, the portions of the cost of the position assigned to each program should be based on the time a person in a position spends working for the program. This will be difficult but since the goal of the process is to review the programs UWL offers not the positions UWL has to fill, it is important that costs be assigned to programs. Over time the cost estimates can be refined to give a more accurate view of the cost of each program. Ultimately every dollar spent by UWL should be associated with the program on which it was spent.