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Program Array Review Memorandum

April 29, 1998

To: Deans and Department Chairs

From: Kenneth L. Watters, Provost and Vice Chancellor

Re: Program Array Review

I have received a number of questions recently about the status of the Program Array Review process. This number of inquiries indicates that the process certainly is on the minds of faculty and particularly those individuals who will be most directly involved as the process plays out. I know that some of you have had discussions at the department and/or school/college level about reports of programs in need of attention. I ask that deans and department chairs pass the information in this memo along to program directors as well.

The questions I have received have fallen into three groups. Where are we in the process? What is going to happen next? Is there money available for investment based on the outcome of the process? Let me address these one at a time.

    Where are we in the process?

    The Academic Planning and Budget Committee has presented me with a report identifying the attached thirty-one programs in need of attention. These programs include fifteen for which the process identified serious concerns about the quality of the program. The remaining programs identified were judged in the review process as programs of average to exceptional quality, which, with additional attention, can be strengthened to the advantage of the program and the university.

    I have sent the list of programs and other information about them along with the attached cover letter to the Academic Program and Curriculum Committee (APCC) for undergraduate programs and to the Committee on Reviews of the Graduate Faculty Council (COR) for the graduate programs. The two groups are reviewing these programs and discussing them with deans and program faculty in preparation for submitting to my office recommendations about the course of action we should pursue for each of them. I expect at least an informal response from these two committees by the end of the current semester. I have asked that the recommendations for action regarding these programs be creative and expansive.

    What comes next?

    When I have received the recommendations from the APCC and the COR, I will meet with deans and program faculty to discuss next steps to address the identified issues and recommendations for each program. These meetings will occur during the summer and the fall semester and should lead to final plans of action for each of the programs.

    Is there money available for investment based on the outcome of the process?

    At the time the Faculty Senate approved the Program Array Review process it recommended that the campus invest at least one million dollars in academic programs identified as needing attention. While I have never made a commitment to any specific amount, I have committed to plan for substantial investments in programs judged through the PAR to be strategic to our institutional goals and growth. I have made it clear on several occasions that I do not consider this process to be primarily about identifying resource needs and that it certainly was not about identifying weak programs into which we would invest substantial funding. Instead, I believe that this process helps us use our resources more efficiently. The review committee noted that a number of programs attempt to offer more areas than they can support and, in some cases, fail to take advantage of complementary programs and faculty resources in other campus units. We can anticipate a range of actions emanating from the program array review, including resource infusions to programs most critical to our strategic goals.

    Having said that, I have identified resources that will be available to the campus as a result of the campus meeting its target enrollments, which we expect to happen this coming semester. The first priority for use of these funds will be investment in identified programs when we are convinced that such investment will make a clear difference in the quality and productivity of that program and of the university. When we have completed the steps outlined in the response above, we will build into our budget planning for 1999-2000 the appropriate investments from available funds.

I and my staff stand ready to answer other questions you might have as does Professor David Petering who chaired the Academic Planning and Budget Committee during the process. I also want to take the opportunity to thank Professor Petering and the many faculty members of the Academic Planning and Budget Committee, the Committee on Reviews, and the Academic Program and Curriculum Committee for their diligent work in planning and implementing the program array review process. I encourage you to share this memo with your faculty and staff or to inform them that it is available on the Academic Affairs web page at .


c: John H. Schroeder, Chancellor
Academic Planning and Budget Committee Members
University Committee Members
Academic Staff Committee Members