The alternative, he said, would be for senior
administrators to make the decisions behind closed
doors. “We don’t feel that’s appropriate at all.”
Guelph is one of several universities that have
embarked on a program review. Others include
Wilfrid Laurier University, Vancouver Island
University and the University of Regina. For the
most part they are relying on a strategy developed
by former U.S. college president, now a consultant,
Robert Dickeson in his book Prioritizing Academic
Programs and Services: Reallocating Resources to Achieve
Strategic Balance (revised and updated in 2010).
U of Guelph is working directly with Dr.
Dickeson to conduct the review. All departments
and non-academic units must complete a form
detailing the programs and services they provide,
enrolment figures and other data. A 21-member
Program Prioritization Task Force, comprised of
faculty, staff and students, will use the information
to rank the university’s programs and services.
That information will in turn be used by senior
administrators to make future budget decisions.
“We are not going to apportion the $34 million
that we need to find in an across-the-board fash-
ion,” Dr. Mancuso said. The process is expected
to take about a year.
After completing a similar review, University
of Regina chose to cancel its separate bachelor
of fine arts degrees in acting, theatre studies, and
design and stage management. It rolled them
into a new degree, a bachelor of arts, major: theatre and performance. It also undertook to revise
its BA in political science and introduce a new
master’s of health management. Some of the
changes are expected to go into effect in 2014.
Vancouver Island University just completed
a review of its 130 academic programs. Most were
found to be in good shape and are to be maintained. Four were recommended for cancellation,
three were suspended, 20 are to be enhanced,
and two expanded. Of the four slated for closure,
two weren’t being offered at the moment and
two have very low enrolment. For the suspended
programs, the affected units have a year to do an
analysis and determine whether they should be
redeveloped or cancelled. The proposed changes
were expected to go to Senate in November for
consideration. Cancelled programs will be phased
out gradually and the expansion of others may
take three to five years.
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