Over the past several weeks, five academic units have been assisting the Academic Program Transformation Task Force by completing the draft version of the online template that will be used to gather information about all of the university’s academic programs. This pilot project is intended to provide the task force and the data support group with important information about the online template, the process of completing the template and the helpfulness of the body of data provided from central university sources. It will also give us an idea of the kinds of information that academic units are able to generate, and the resources and advice that are needed to assist units in their task.
The programs that were sampled for this pilot phase were chosen to represent diverse academic activities. They included a fine arts program, a large undergraduate program in the social sciences, a professional program and two different kinds of graduate programs. We are expecting that the insights we gain from this pilot phase will enable us to strengthen the template, to ensure that the technical aspects of the process run as smoothly as possible, and to ascertain whether further or different data should be provided to academic units to assist them with the completion of their templates.
Under the direction of the task force, members of the data support team have worked hard to provide university data and to refine the technical aspects of the online template, both for the pilot project and with an eye to the process that all academic units will shortly be embarking on. During this period, we have also been working to finalize the programs list and to collect the names and NSIDs of those who will be involved in completing the program templates.
We have encountered unexpected challenges in the course of the pilot project, and though this is in the nature of pilot projects, the delays and uncertainties have nonetheless imposed additional burdens on the units that were part of the sample. We are grateful to these units – the Department of Psychology, the Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the College of Law, and the School of Environment and Sustainability – for their patience and willingness to adapt.
The delays encountered in the pilot project have, of course, cast doubt on the ability of the task force to adhere to the original time frames for finalizing and circulating the templates and the data to all units. We expect to be providing information shortly concerning any revisions that may be necessary to this timetable.