Background - Recent History and Why We are Using Program Prioritization (PP-PAR)
The campus community has requested program prioritization for more than a decade. For example, there were periodic informal discussions about the need for this type of process during the administration of Chancellor Anne Lydecker. Subsequently, during the beginning stage of Reach for the Future in 2006, as that strategic planning process was labeled, there were meetings in the River Falls Public Library that included faculty, staff, and administrators; the item that received the most support, by far, was prioritization. Since then the university community has worked collaboratively to utilize program prioritization. In 2008-09 the Faculty Senate and Chancellor Connie Foster approved a prioritization process that was used to collect data, to provide evaluations of programs, and to rank them. The conclusion reached after implementing the effort reads, in part, "Faculty Senate accepts the current program prioritization process as an appropriate and useful exercise that should be seen through to conclusion. . . . Faculty Senate recommends that program prioritization, upon revision, become an ongoing initiative . . ."
During 2010-2013 the program prioritization process was reviewed by the Academic Program and Policy Committee, an ad hoc Committee on Program Prioritization, the Faculty Senate, and the Administration. Input from the university community was critical to the collaborative development of the revised plan, and Faculty Senate approved the new program prioritization processes on at least three separate occasions (May 2, 2012, December 12, 2012, and May 8, 2013), with strong support from Chancellor Dean Van Galen. The last Faculty Senate vote, on May 8, 2013 showed 22 votes in favor, 0 opposed, and 0 abstentions.
Program Prioritization Process Goals
First, the process is intended to provide useful information to the campus at large, to departments and programs to help with ongoing responsibilities such as assessment and program improvement, and to decision makers who determine staff and resource allocations. It is critical to stress that the process is informative for decision makers, rather than deterministic.
Second, the university is transitioning from a seven-year program review process to a six-year program review process. One goal of program prioritization is to combine the two processes. Hence, the label PP-PAR (program prioritization and program audit and review) has been used.
Third, programs are currently required to file annual assessment reports. Another goal of PP-PAR is to integrate the annual assessment reports into a single, combined process, creating synergies and efficiencies between program prioritization, program audit and review, and assessment.
Program Prioritization Files and Information
PP-PAR files and information are located on the university's T-drive, accessible to faculty, staff, and administrators through Falcon Share. These files can also be accessed from university computers using the following path: Computer > Campus (\\falconshare.uwrf.edu) (t:) > Collaboration > Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment.
Program Prioritization Deadlines and Tasks (partial listing)
Program chairs should access the PP-PAR files on the T-drive for additional information and directions. The upcoming tasks and deadlines include:
October 4: Submission of exit survey data (Intellectual Strength Category B)
October 15: Submission of assessment plans (Intellectual Strength Category A)
October 15: Voluntary workshop on indirect assessment measures (Intellectual Strength Category B), 12:30 p.m., UC 334
October 16: Voluntary workshop on indirect assessment measures (Intellectual Strength Category B), 2:00 p.m., UC 334
November 1: Submission of strategic plan statements (Intellectual Strength Category E)
December 2: Deans complete review of strategic plan statements (Intellectual Strength Category E)
December 3: Chairs of departments with multiple programs report percentages of FTE, S&E, etc. (i.e. Financial Strength factors) for each program to their deans
December 4: Voluntary workshop on the use of Sedona for Intellectual Strength Category D, 2:00 p.m., UC 334
December 5: Voluntary workshop on the use of Sedona for Intellectual Strength Category D, 12:30 p.m., UC 334
January (Opening Week): Feedback sessions on assessment plans (Intellectual Strength Category A), time/date TBD