Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a "new" program? How will they be ranked against other programs?
A program is considered "new" in the Program Prioritization Process if it was implemented or established any time after the beginning of Fall 2010 but not after the end of Spring 2013. Programs that began during this time period will still complete templates, but will not be placed into one of the five quintiles. They will receive feedback on their submissions from the AcTF, but will not be ranked in competition with each other.
Why am I being told to fill out a template for a program that was deleted?
If a program’s deletion has been approved through all levels of review including the NWCCU by the end of September 2013, then you do not need to fill out a template for that program. Please notify one of the AcTF co-chairs about the status of a deleted program as soon as possible.
Should I fill out a template for a program that we plan to delete or that is in the process of being deleted?
Yes, but you can simply put in the History text box that this program will be, or is being, deleted. There is no need to complete the rest of the template.
Should I fill out a template for a program with suspended admission?
Yes, unless the department plans to delete it. If so, see the answer above.
I've just reviewed the AcTF's list of "programs." I noticed that some programs seem to completely overlap—why are they listed separately?
This process is not based on current funding structures. If two programs have different intended outcomes (e.g., program student learning outcomes) and any degree to which they have requirements that do not overlap or serve different student groups, they are different programs.
Is UAA going to eliminate all the programs and functions that land in quintile 5?
No, programs and functions that are placed in quintile 5 will NOT automatically be scheduled for elimination. Programs and functions in this quintile will be reviewed in greater detail and discussed by campus leadership, including faculty in the program under review; some programs may be reduced in size, others may be combined, others may be phased out.
I just don't see how this kind of process can be fair to small programs that might be "gems," but don't produce huge numbers of credit hours or graduates. How will our "gem" programs not get eliminated based on size?
The prioritization process does not privilege credit hour production in the evaluation. The prioritization process will employ multiple criteria for evaluation (please see criteria and weighting section of the Chancellor's Prioritization website (http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/chancellor/Prioritization/evaluation_criteria.cfm ). Internal and external demand for programs, among other criteria, create a balanced approach and analysis overall.
Service is a very important part of faculty contracts. Why isn't service seen as a program in and of itself?
This process is not based on the division of workloads. Faculty members teach, perform research and creative activity, and perform service, and this will not be changed by prioritization. The prioritization process considers which programs and functions are most important for UAA to invest in, and those areas will include teaching, research and creative activity, and service. Discrete service areas that require faculty buyouts (e.g., governance functions) will be considered individually as functions.
Why are there no program or function entries for non-funded research and some service?
Program prioritization is a process to rate programmatic activities of UAA against its stated priorities. It is not considering changing the nature of faculty positions. As such research cannot be considered: it is part of what faculty do. Trying to rate it separately would open the possibility of removing all tri-partite faculty. The same is true of service: this is a component of the workload. Certain functions might be changed or ended (see the function list), but faculty will still do service.
If a department's "Sponsored Research" is categorized in quintile 5, what does that mean?
It is important to remember that there is no guarantee of a particular action being taken on any program just because it is in a particular quintile. For example, not all of the programs in the "Priority for Increased Resources" quintile will actually receive increased resources. The same is true for programs in the "Consider for Reduction or Phase Out" quintile necessarily be reduced in funding or phased out.
However, if a department's "Sponsored Research" is placed in the bottom quintile, it will be looked at closely by the administration and PBAC. It may be that the awards under review were too draining of university resources while not closely focused on UAA's priorities. This process may help produce guidelines that can be used by faculty seeking external research funding to be able to select sources and programs that are more beneficial to UAA overall.
It is also important to note that while the Program Prioritization Process is examining sponsored research for those departments that have such projects, there will not be a similar review of research that is funded through the regular tripartite workload. This "unfunded" (not externally funded) is being privileged because it is inherent to the definition of a tripartite faculty workload. No faculty will lose the research portion of their workload based on the Program Prioritization Process.
What happens to shared governance if "Faculty Governance" is categorized in quintile 5?
Shared governance is part of the Board of Regents Policy: P03.01.010. Faculty, Staff, and Student Governance. http://www.alaska.edu/bor/policy/03-01.pdf . This means it is a state mandated program and cannot be eliminated without Board of Regents approval. However, if "Faculty Governance" as a support function of the university is placed in the bottom quintile, then it will be re-examined for ways to improve its efficacy and efficiency. While the number of committees and their various functions could be reduced, reorganized, or restructured, shared governance cannot be phased out without a major revision to BOR policy. Faculty Governance would need to be involved in its own restructuring if it were categorized in the "Consider for Reduction or Phase Out" category. Further, the Support Task Force will be giving some feedback to each function it reviews that will help guide the campus in responding to its assessment.
What are the implications if a department's GER course(s) is (are) placed in quintile 5?
It is possible that a department could have its GER course(s) removed as a GER or removed as a result of them being placed in the "Consider for Reduction or Phase Out."
UAA has already started on a project to more fully assess its GER, and it is not uncommon for an institution to begin restructuring its GER after completing a Program Prioritization Process. However, the actual redesign of the GER is not accomplished through prioritization. That would be a separate project undertaken by the campus if prioritization revealed the necessity for UAA to do so.
My program is too new to be compared to other programs. How will this be handled?
If an academic program began operation (not was approved) in AY11-12 or AY12-13 (fewer than three years of operation), then it will be reviewed for feedback, but it will not be entered in a quintile.
Why is UAA using a model developed by Dr. Robert C. Dickeson?
UAA has contracted with Mr. Larry Goldstein on our program prioritization process. Mr. Goldstein has completed trainings with Dr. Dickeson for many years, and uses a model based on one described in Dr. Robert Dickeson's Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services.
GER and a graduate program are very different. How can they be reasonably compared?
They must be compared. If UAA is to ensure that all programs match current priorities and that funding follows the priorities, then all aspects of the university from snow plowing to Ph.D.s must be reviewed. The criteria selected do apply to all programs. The template includes questions that are pertinent for each type of program.
Why should UAA engage in a process that seems to discourage looking for new money?
The program prioritization process is being implemented to increase money to the programs that need it.
The criteria used to assign programs to quintiles consider the value of programs that bring in money (internal and external). As a result this process encourages seeking new funding. By making the funding follow priorities and demonstrating that UAA updates or removes outdates programs, UAA will continue to demonstrate fiscal responsibility with state dollars. This removes an obstacle to increased state funding.