Some members of the university community have been asking about the statement of confidentiality signed by the members of the Academic Program Transformation Task Force as we undertook our work. There have been questions about whether this statement prevents the task force from communicating freely about the program prioritization process and the information it produces.
In our initial meetings, members of the task force have agreed that it is important to make our process as transparent as possible. We have already shared the draft criteria and weightings that will guide the process, and invited comments on them prior to finalizing. We will be circulating the template we will be using to gather information about programs. Once we have received completed templates from the academic units responsible for programs, we will be posting those on our website for the information of faculty, staff and students. Our final report will be made available through this medium as well.
As we progress through our prioritization process, we will be seeking opportunities to provide information about the process, through town halls and other forums, and we will be providing regular updates and commentary on this site. Individual members of the task force are also ready to answer informal questions from colleagues.
Like other collegial processes – search committees, student disciplinary proceedings, research ethics boards, or promotion and tenure committees, for example – there are aspects of our work that must remain confidential. It is important that, when it comes to deliberations about specific programs, members of the task force are able to speak and vote freely, relying on the discretion of their task force colleagues. The statement of confidentiality is meant to remind us that, as task force members, we have an obligation to maintain confidence about the views of other members and about how those views are expressed in relation to specific issues.
In all other respects, it is our intention to share as much information with the campus community as we can.
Beth and Lisa