Guidelines for Program Elimination
A Proposal By the Subcommittee for Academic Affairs
This report is the culmination of a review of issues and policies relating to the subject of program elimination undertaken by the Subcommittee for Academic Affairs.
Program elimination is used in this document to mean the termination of
a program of study that culminates in a degree or the suspension of a program
of study for a specified term of years.
The initiation of a process that ultimately results in the elimination
of a degree related program could begin within the educational unit that offers
the program. Alternatively, the process
could be initiated by higher administrative levels external to the
department. Currently guidelines and
forms exist within
Between February 2002 and November of 2003, 13 SSA members representing
11 departments have contributed to the development of the following program
elimination guidelines. The resources consulted
Premises and Assumptions
In the absence of established guidelines for program elimination, decisions may be made using ad hoc procedures. This may create the impression among faculty in the affected unit that the process is unfair. In addition, without established guidelines, the information used by the decision maker in the course of the process may vary or be incomplete. This may create the impression among faculty in the affected unit that they have not been given a fair hearing.
Program elimination guidelines should be designed to facilitate open dialogue and the sharing of all pertinent documents in good faith between the Provost’s Office and stakeholders (faculty administrators, students and the Marquette community in general). Transparency needs to be evident in the guidelines. Thus:
time for contemplation, should be given before eliminating a program (allowing time for stakeholders to be informed and time to reflect and respond).
administrative, college and department levels.
Sources of Guidance
The fundamental documents of the University guide actions for all
internal and external endeavors. These
documents therefore provide direction for formulating criteria for program
elimination. The guiding documents of
the University are the Vision,
The fundamental documents are as follows:
Our vision is to provide a Catholic, Jesuit education that is genuinely
transformational, so that our students graduate not simply better educated
but better people, and to do so with such excellence that when asked to
name the three or four best Catholic universities in
Search for truth, discovery and sharing of knowledge, fostering personal and professional
excellence, promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in
service to others
Core Values of
Excellence (personal, professional), Faith, Leadership and Service (to all communities)
a. Academic Criteria To Be Considered for Program Elimination
From the Vision statement:
External recognition - Example criteria, U.S. News & World Report ranking, national presentations, national awards, polls and survey results comparing Catholic institutions on various criteria, word of mouth- testimonials, independent national polls, awards from professional association(s), etc. Limited or no indicators of excellence is not in keeping with the vision statement.
Excellence - Example criteria, ATC/SAT scores of incoming students, GRE scores of graduates, percentage of undergraduates going to graduate school, refereed and nonrefereed publications, books, professional and public presentations, internal and external evidence of teaching quality, funding, graduate satisfaction, national recognition, external reviews, credentials of accepted students, student teacher ratio, # of full time faculty teaching courses (compared to part-time faculty or teaching assistants), advancement to the highest tier of research institutions, extent to which the program explores finding God in all things, etc. Limited or no indicators of excellence is not in keeping with the mission statement.
Faith - Example criteria, involvement in religious organizations, integration of faith and courses/curriculum, sponsored programs and activities, sponsors of public dialog, hosts of significant faith centered meetings, percentage of students and graduates who have significant involvement in religious groups, involvement in the Manrasa project or the Center for Ignation Spirituality, participation in University Ministry activities, etc. Limited or no indicators of faith is not in keeping with the mission statement.
Leadership - Example criteria, exemplary faculty and administrators who demonstrate and inspire others to make ethically justifiable decisions, informed teacher-scholars who contribute to the body of knowledge, use the information in their teaching, and demonstrate behaviors that reflect commitment to meeting students needs along with the needs of their religious, cultural, professional and civic communities, pursuit of magis, etc. Limited or no indicators of leadership is not in keeping with the mission statement.
Service to Others (internal) - Example criteria, volunteer activities, pro bono service, actions commensurate with being an advocate for a just society, participation in service learning, volunteering in disadvantaged communities, engaging in actions that reflect “men and women for others”, commitment to a faith that works for a just world, apostolic spirituality-spiritual development, faculty and student pursuit of truth, cura personalis, etc. Limited or no indicators of service to others in the University community is not in keeping with the mission statement.
Service to Others (external) - Example criteria, fulfillment of professional
organization goals, support of volunteer organizations, pro-bono services,
faculty holding offices at local, state, regional, national levels, facilitating dialog
and action at all levels, etc. Limited or no indicators of service to others outside of the University community is not in keeping with the mission statement.
b. Other Questions Regarding Academic Considerations
Program Relationship to the
Core Curriculum and other Programs - The relationships between the
program’s offerings, the core curriculum, and other academic programs need to
be examined. There are obligations to multiple
stakeholders, i.e., students, program faculty, other programs, and the
community at large. The following
questions may guide the formation of criteria to examine. To what extent is the program necessary to
fulfill part of the goals of a Jesuit, Catholic institution? What is the impact on core curriculum
offerings (Foreign Languages/Diverse Cultures (3), Histories of Cultures and
Societies (3), Human Nature and Ethics (6), Individual and Social Behavior (3),
Mathematics (3), Rhetoric (6), Science and Nature (3), Theology (6)? What and how many of the program’s courses
have been approved for core credit? Is
the program necessary to fulfill the goals of a separate major, minor or
professional program? Would the
elimination cut at the heart of
c. Financial Considerations for Program Elimination
To eliminate a program because of a fiscal emergency is justified to avert more general crisis but the Subcommittee believes that cost savings alone is insufficient grounds to eliminate a program.
However, should the financial state of the University become such that costs must be reduced for the
University to survive, i.e., fiscal exigency, a transparent decision making process should be in place
along with procedures for the process to be enacted. A hierarchy of importance needs to be
formulated based on academic and financial common sense. For example, programs that are
duplicative within a college, department, or within a sub-unit within a department should be considered for elimination before non-duplicative college or departmental programs. In any case, the Provost’s Office should spell out the estimated cost savings from the elimination of the program.
To develop criteria for program elimination because of financial need there are questions that need
to be asked and answered. Such questions would include: Consideration of the financial
support that has been provided to the program in the past – has it been adequate? Diminishing?
Supra-ordinary? What have been the fiscal trends over the past 5 years? What is the approximate
size of target market, internal and external signs of demand for program, number and geographical
distribution of like programs, five year trends in admission and graduation rates, recommendations
from external consultants, etc.? What are the alternative ways to reduce costs that have been
considered and rejected? Can monies be allocated from the budget of another program or operation
that is relatively less vital to the spirit of Ignatian pedagogy or the core curriculum? Is temporary
borrowing or delayed construction an option to weather a fiscal exigency? Which of the preceding
factors should be considered in the decision? Should all of them be considered? Should any of the
above factors be given greater weight? Will programs that least well match the fundamental
documents receive the greatest scrutiny? What should the process entail? Should
process that involves a broad based, university appointed, standing committee for program review
that includes program elimination?
Recommendations: Program Elimination Process and Procedures
What follows is a description of the procedures and guidelines for program elimination recommended by the Subcommittee on Academic Affairs. The SAA has discussed and reflected upon the preceding information in 22 meetings over the past two years (Appendix 3). Our recommendations are explained in the following narrative and depicted in Figure 1. The process calls for the formation of a new body called the Program Review Committee (PRC).
The process begins when the subject of possible program elimination is put forth for consideration. The possibility of eliminating a program may be raised from within the affected college, department or sub-unit, i.e. from the bottom-up. Alternatively, the possibility of eliminating a program may be raised as part of the regular and ongoing work of the PRC. Finally, the possibility of eliminating a program my come from the top-down and originate with the University Administration. Regardless of the original source of the proposal, the process of evaluating the ramifications of the program elimination is the same.
A Program Review Committee (PRC) will be formed, to be appointed by the Provost or the Provost’s designee. The members of the PRC shall be selected from among various representative groups, as discussed in Appendix 1, but shall at a minimum include at least one faculty representative from the affected program. The PRC begins its review either 1) by acknowledging receipt of a recommendation received as a result of a bottom-up review of the program or 2) by sending an official notice to the Dean and faculty of the affected unit indicating that the program has been identified as a candidate for possible elimination by the Administration.
The PRC shall conduct its review by assembling and evaluating data relevant to the decision to eliminate the program. The factors to be considered by the PRC in making its ultimate recommendation are set forth in detail in this report. The PRC shall communicate these factors and any other categories of relevant information to the Dean, Chair, faculty and students of the affected program, soliciting their input and providing an opportunity for these stakeholders to respond. The PRC shall also solicit input relevant to these factors from the Academic Senate, and the Committee on Faculty. It is anticipated that the PRC will prepare a memo summarizing the data that it has collected and will meet as a committee to evaluate whether program elimination is warranted. In completing its work, the PRC may seek clarification or additional information from any University constituency as it proceeds to evaluate the data that it has collected.
The PRC shall then make a recommendation to the Provost concerning the possible program elimination. If the decision of the Provost is to proceed with program elimination, the Provost will communicate that decision to the Board of Undergraduate Studies or, where relevant, the Board of Graduate Studies (Board) for its concurrence. The Board may concur with the Provost’s decision, or may seek additional information from the PRC.
If the Board concurs with the Provost’s decision to proceed with program elimination, then the provost will make an appropriate recommendation to the University President. The President makes the ultimate decision, unless approval is required from the University Board of Trustees.
Purpose. (4 = related material we have drafted addresses the issue)
Idea Generation 4
Idea Screening 4
Cover sheet information format 4
Five year enrollment history/projections 4
Revenues lost, gained from closure 4
Copies sent to (see Appendix 2) 4
Relation between strategic plan, vision, mission and program 4
Academic quality 4
Strength and competence 4
Competitive advantages 4
Rationale for program
Constituency(ies) served 4
Impact on existing curriculum, program, college, core 4
Special matters 4
Market Demand Analysis 4
Business Analysis 4
Evaluation Timeframe 4
Evaluative Process 4
Other Factors 4
Outcome Evaluations 4
To complement the above check list a process flow chart has been prepared (Fig. 1). This figure identifies three linked processes in the elimination component of program review: 1) process initiation, 2) due process, and 3) process conclusion. Early in initiation process is the intervention of a proposed standing committee. The proposed committee members would likely be appointed by the Provost or the Provost’s designee. The Committee would likely draw from the membership of the Committee on Faculty, Academic Senate, and a representative of the program under scrutiny.
Educational Institutions Guidelines Reviewed for Program Elimination
History of SSA Regarding Program Elimination
Early December 2000, the
Subcommittee on Academic Affairs noted that a central University Committee is
developing criteria for closing programs. In the minutes of the Academic Senate
During its September 2001-February
2002 meetings, a volunteer SAA subcommittee was formed (Mike Schilke and Larry Nosse).
Its purpose was to review eight pre-selected website documents and to
examine areas typically covered in program elimination policies and procedures,
as identified in the Draft Policy. Submitted committee reports were put into
one master document. At its March 2002 meeting, the SAA discussed the
complexity of this project. It agreed that the “Draft Policy … Outline of
Issues” would be used for sorting through key issues identified from the
University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center and the
In the summer of 2002 program
closing websites were searched once again.
Efforts to identify program closing websites at Jesuit Universities,
while ongoing, have been to no avail.
At its September and October 2002
meetings, the SAA began specifically discussing its “Draft Policy (
Continue the program
Modify the program
Discontinue the program
found to be less reflective of our thinking. It was recognized that other reviewers of this document may choose alternative descriptors. Appendix 2 shows the general process suggested by the SAA for program elimination.
After a further period of drafting
and discussion, the SAA adopted the current report outlining its proposal at