The release of completed templates

From the time it was established, the Academic Programs Prioritization Task Force has stated its commitment to a process that is as transparent and open as possible. To this end, the task force has created vehicles for regular communication with the campus community, and for responding to questions. Early in its deliberations, the task force determined that the templates that are the basis for assessing programs should be released for general review by faculty, staff and students. The task force decided that the best time for this to occur would be in conjunction with the release of the final report, in which the recommendations for categorization of the programs will be made clear. Continue reading

Academic quintile characteristics

In preparing for the work of assessing the program templates submitted by academic units, the task force has engaged in considerable discussion about the characteristics we should attach to each of the quintiles in our classification system. In our original communications about the quintiles, we described them in very basic terms:

1 – Candidate for enhanced resourcing
2 – Maintain with current resourcing
3 – Maintain with reduced resourcing
4 – Reconfigure for efficiency/effectiveness
5 – Candidate for phase out

It became clear to us that we needed to describe more fully the kind of decision we are making when we place a program in a particular quintile. We would like to share the descriptions we are now using. Continue reading

Academic program assessment process

This week, the academic programs task force embarks on an intensive ten-week period during which we will be assessing the completed templates for close to 500 academic programs. We have scheduled two weekly meetings for this purpose, as well as a day-long meeting in mid-November, and we will schedule additional meetings if necessary to ensure that we are able to give each program adequate consideration. Over the past two weeks, we have engaged in testing and calibrating our assessment process, and the task force is now prepared to move forward into the evaluation stage. Continue reading

TransformUS templates unavailable Wednesday 8 pm to midnight

In advance of Friday’s deadline to submit TransformUS academic templates, and in order to effectively support expected demand on the system on Thursday and Friday, hardware upgrades will be made to SharePoint, the system hosting the templates. These upgrades will occur on Wednesday evening from 8 pm until midnight. During this time all templates will be unavailable. Continue reading

Note concerning template Question 3.3

We have received a number of inquiries about what information should be provided in response to Question 3.3 on the template which asks for the average teaching load in 3CUEs in the unit. We are not asking here that the information provided reflect the number of students in the courses, but simply how many courses faculty members typically teach (e.g. two 3CU courses per year would give a total of 6CU). It does not need to reflect the number of students enrolled in the courses.

What happens next?

For much of the summer, many members of the university community have been involved in completing the program templates for the TransformUS program review. For members of the task force, this has been a time of preparation for the review which will begin shortly; our activities have included continued refinement of the programs list, discussions about the evaluation criteria, and efforts to assist those responsible for completing program templates. It seems timely to describe the process the task force will be using to assess academic programs and to formulate our final recommendations. Continue reading

Research funding

Since the release of the templates and worksheets, we have had a number of questions about how research funding (the amount indicated as “Grants and Contracts” in the financial data distributed) should be allocated to various programs.

To begin with, it should be noted that the template asks that this information be recorded in two different places. The first is in connection with Criterion 4 (size, scope and productivity); the second is under Criterion 7 (revenues). Continue reading

Interdisciplinary programs

We have received a number of questions about the completion of templates for interdisciplinary programs, and in this message we are providing some general advice on this topic.

Given the way central university information is organized, we thought it necessary to assign interdisciplinary programs to a “home” unit, in order to make it clear which unit is responsible for completing the template. The centrally-provided data permit the “home” department to calculate its contribution to the interdisciplinary program and enter the results on the template. Continue reading

Academic scoring rubric

In the past week, the task force has released a flood of documents connected with the academic programs prioritization process, including the customized templates and worksheets, a guide to the completion of the template and a final list of programs to be reviewed. This release also included a scoring rubric developed by the task force to guide us in the process of reviewing the completed templates.

Unlike many of the evaluation processes, the program prioritization process we have adopted requires that all members of the task force assess all programs. This approach is being used in order to be sure that there is as much consistency as possible, and that the review of every program includes the wide range of perspectives reflected in the membership of the task force. Members of the task force come from many different disciplines and are familiar with many different aspects of the operations of the university; this diversity is an important component of the assessment model that is being employed. Continue reading

Template access

Over the last week, those responsible for completing templates to be used in the academic programs prioritization review have been given access to the final online templates and to worksheets prepopulated with central university data relevant to specific programs. In addition, a final version of the list of programs for review was posted, as well as a guide containing advice about the completion of the templates, and a scoring rubric that will be used by the task force in assessing the programs.
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