As a consequence of chronic budget difficulties resulting from declining state support for higher education, The University of Tennessee is under-funded for the number and extent of academic and support services it currently offers. Despite this, the University has many excellent programs, and many more that are capable of excellence. But it also has some programs that are less competitive.
Because the likelihood of improved state support in the near term is low, we must take steps to focus the institution and to direct our available resources to programs that meet our expectations for excellence. Accordingly, we are proceeding with plans to reduce or eliminate some programs with the intention of redirecting resources to areas that have a higher probability of achieving excellence.
- Working in concert with faculty, staff and students, the Council of Deans and an Academic Program Reduction Task Force will identify a relatively short list of programs to be considered for reduction or elimination.
- The list will be compiled by about July 1, 2003, and substantive data about each program will be compiled by September 1. Data will be drawn from past program reviews, the Delaware study, APEC recommendations, other institutional data sources.
- Open Hearings for each program will be held during the Fall semester, and decisions about elimination or reduction will be made by December 1, 2003.
- The decisions will inform the budget hearings to be held in March, 2004.
- The sequence for program elimination will be:
- Stop admitting students into the program
- Stop hiring new faculty
- Initiate process to terminate probationary faculty
- Reassign or release tenured faculty
- Notify THEC and accrediting agencies of program elimination
For purposes of this activity, "program" is defined broadly to include undergraduate majors, minors and concentrations (see the Undergraduate Catalog, pp. 32-35) and graduate majors and degree programs (see the Graduate Catalog, pp. 10-13). In addition, research centers and institutes are included in this definition.
Quality Quality is defined by externally (outside the unit) validated criteria.A "quality" program ranks high in a significant number of the indicators detailed below:
- Placement and employment status
- Outcomes assessment (teaching, advising, GREs, etc.)
- Teaching awards
- Scholarship and artistry
- Contracts and grants
- Awards and recognition
- Adequacy of the faculty to support the program
- Other peer recognition
- Philanthropic support
- Public image
- Facilities and laboratories
- Quality of library support
- Economic impact
- Engagement with the community
- Adequacy of staff support
Centrality to the mission of the University: the University is a comprehensive, research-extensive, land-grant institution. Programs are essential to the University if they:
- Have enduring academic value
- Have been mandated by federal or state legislation
- Prepare students for effective citizenship in a representative democracy
- Are core disciplines
- Provide comprehensive educational, research, and service opportunities
Uniqueness and Competitive Advantage
- The program or service is not available elsewhere in the state or region and meets particular needs
- There is a distinct audience for the program
- The program differentiates and distinguishes the University
- The program has the ability to draw new resources to the institution
- The program meets societal needs (such as trained professionals, new knowledge, solutions to complex problems, preparation for citizenship)
- There is strong student demand (majors, student credit hour production, graduates)
- The program is central to general education
- There is a current or perceived future desire/demand for a program or service to meet a societal need
- The integrity of the University would be compromised if the program were to be eliminated
- What does it cost to operate the program? (space, human resources, operating support, technology, etc.)
- What are the benefits--the perceived or real value received in exchange for the costs? Considerations include institutional reputation, engagement with society, revenue (tuition and fees, contracts and grants, F&A, support of graduate students), contributions to society (research, service, engagement).
- Is the program efficient and effective? Accountable?
- What would be the costs to the institution if the program were eliminated?
Loren Crabtree, Chair
President, Faculty Senate
Chair, Senate Budget Committee
Two Academic Deans
Two Department Heads