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D01.6 Policy on Academic Program Review, Reduction, Discontinuance, or Transfer

  1. Policy Statement

    Responsible management of academic programs depends on regular and consistent information made available to departments and colleges for the purposes of monitoring academic quality and resource requirements. With accurate and appropriate information accompanied by careful review, departments and colleges can make informed programmatic decisions and may find it necessary to reallocate resources, reduce a program(s), discontinue a program(s), or transfer a program(s).  Regular monitoring of programs by departments and colleges should avoid any need by the board of trustees to take the extraordinary step of invoking financial exigency. In the unlikely case of financial exigency, E22.0 Policy on Financial Exigency shall be followed.
     
  2. Academic Program Review (APR)

    Academic Program Review (APR) is a transparent, collaborative and comprehensive process overseen by the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. The purpose of APR is to provide faculty and administration with reliable and centrally collected information needed to support and guide a university process of continual program planning, quality, improvement and resource allocation .  The data used as input to the APR Metrics are available at https://www.rit.edu/fa/irps/dashboard.  Such a process helps guide the university to make informed decisions about program enhancement, continuance, consolidation, reduction, or discontinuance.
     
    1. APR Process

      The process shall include a tiered approach designed to provide data and analysis to the college and department on an annual basis with the option of conducting a deeper analysis, if needed  and requested. The approach shall include at a minimum, the following components:
       
    • Presentation of program data related to established outcome metrics
    • Notification of any program metric results not meeting established benchmarks for program performance
    • Submission of a response by program and college to notifications of program performance concerns
    • Provision for a sufficient period of time to develop and implement a plan to the cited performance concerns.
       
    1. APR Metrics

      Academic Program performance will be reviewed on a set of key metrics which fall into performance outcome categories. These outcome categories shall be included in every tier of APR and include: Enrollment, Student Learning Outcomes, Student Success, and Revenue/Expense. Based on tier 1 analysis, additional data may be requested in tier 2 in order to more clearly understand and interpret annual data. The metrics and data included in tier 1 include but are not limited to:
       
    • Three Year Enrollment Trends
    • Student learning outcomes assessment results
    • Student success outcomes: first year retention; graduation and placement rates
    • Revenue and Expense


In addition, programs are expected to also establish an ongoing system by which other valuable information on program quality can be collected and systematically reviewed as defined by the college.  Examples of this information include but are not limited to: advisory board input; student and graduate feedback; instructional activity report/data warehouse analysis; and specialized accrediting body requirements and recommendations.

  1. Notification of APR results

    Communication among the dean, relevant program administrator, faculty and staff is of prime importance in this process. Deans, associate deans, and department heads shall receive annua l APR results, including the data and the algorithms used to determine the results, from the Provost’s Office. Department heads shall share the results with the relevant program administrator and full-time faculty of the program.

    If the APR results warrant a follow-up report or action plan, the relevant program administrator and the full-time faculty of the program shall be included in the development of the report and action plan. In addition, any response from the Provost’s Office regarding the submitted program information shall be shared with the program administrator and the full-time faculty of the program.

 

  1. Academic Program Reduction

    While it is recognized that management of an academic program requires occasional adjustments in resources, reduction of an active program is defined as a more intentional set of steps that may directly affect tenured and tenure-track faculty, and faculty with multi-year appointments in that program. This process requires increased documentation and communication when compared to standard annual program management. In addition, the process provides an orderly approach to program reduction which includes thoughtful provisions for the students and faculty affected.
     
    1. Program reduction shall be based on information and data that support a decision that the program no longer needs the full complement of its current resources and should include the following steps: any program reduction which results in the termination of a tenured faculty member shall follow policy E20.0 Policy on the Termination of Faculty Members due to Program Discontinuance or Reduction.

      The decision to reduce a program shall typically come from the dean and shall first be shared with the relevant department head and program administrator. After this initial notification, the full time faculty and staff of the program shall be notified.
       
    2. Process
       
      1. Once it has been decided that an academic program shall undergo reduction and the notifications of the decision have been made according to this policy (Section II), a proposal that outlines the plan to implement the reduction shall be developed by the relevant department head in consultation with the relevant program administrator. The proposal shall include, but is not limited to:
         
        1. A plan for program viability moving forward
           
        2. Plans for faculty reassignment or career development or termination of affected faculty members that are consistent with Policy E20.0.
           
      2. The relevant department head and program administrator shall share the proposal with the program curriculum committee (if one exists) for review and input.  After the program curriculum committee has provided input on the proposal to the department head and program administrator, the proposal is shared with the faculty and staff of the program for review and comment.  The input from the faculty and staff of the program shall be forwarded to the relevant department head and program administrator.
         
      3. The proposal, along with input from the program curriculum committee and the program faculty and staff shall be submitted to the college curriculum committee for review and comment.
         
      4. The college curriculum committee shall forward the proposal, along with all input  received, and the committee’s comments to the dean of the college in which the program resides.
         
      5. The dean shall forward the proposal with any comments along with other input that has been collected to the provost.
         
      6. The provost shall make the final determination regarding the proposal for the implementation of a reduction in an academic program.
         
  2. Academic Program Discontinuance

    On occasion, academic programs are discontinued. The APR process provides a mechanism, data and information critical for determining the ongoing viability of an academic program.

    If the APR process and this policy have been followed, and it has been determined that a program is being considered for discontinuance, the process below is designed to create a fair, orderly and careful approach to the discontinuance of the program including thoughtful provisions for the students and faculty affected.
     
    1. Decision and Notification

      The decision to pursue program discontinuance shall typically come from the dean and shall first be shared with the department head and the  relevant program administrator. After this initial notification, the full-time faculty and staff of the program followed by the administrators of the programs affected, followed by other affected faculty, shall be informed.
       
    2. Proposal for Discontinuance

      The Proposal for Discontinuance of an academic program shall include but not be limited to the following:
       
      1. Rationale and data supporting discontinuance.
         
      2. A plan for the orderly discontinuance of the curriculum.
         
      3. A plan for accommodating the needs of students who are currently enrolled in the program.
         
      4. A plan for reassignment, career development, and/or termination of affected faculty and staff. See policy E20.0 Policy on the Termination of Faculty Members due to Program Discontinuance or Reduction.
         
      5. A timeline that describes the intended actions to be taken toward discontinuance.


After completion of the required Proposal for Discontinuance, the following steps shall be taken:

  1. All paperwork shall be submitted to the relevant curriculum committees for review and comment.
     
  2. The curriculum committees shall submit all paperwork along with any committee comments to the college curriculum committee for review and comment.
     
  3. The college curriculum committee shall submit all documentation and comments received along with its comments to the college dean.
     
  4. The college dean shall submit the proposal, any comments on the proposal, along with all associated paperwork that have been received through the process to the provost for final decision on the Proposal for Discontinuance.
     
  5. If the dean and college curriculum committee differ, the provost, after consulting with the college’s tenured faculty, shall meet with the dean and curriculum committee to resolve the matter.  If the matter is not resolved, the provost shall make the final decision.
     
  6. The Provost’s Office shall send an announcement of the action to the Intercollege Curriculum Committee (ICC) or Graduate Council (GC), whichever is appropriate.
     
  7. If the program provides service to programs in other colleges, the affected deans and department heads shall be informed of the timeline proposed for the discontinuance and shall be informed of the timeline proposed for discontinuance and shall ensure that the timeline allows for proper adjustment to the affected program prior to any pertinent print deadlines.

 

  1. Transfer of an Academic Program
     
    1. Decision

      At times, the transfer an academic program or group of programs (e.g., department) from one college to another or from one department to another may be warranted. The basis for the decision of program transfer shall be well founded and may include but shall not be limited to financial viability or alignment of curriculum. Regardless of the underlying reasons to transfer a program(s), any transfer shall be based on the best educational interests of students.
       
    2. Process
       
      1. A formal proposal for the transfer of a program to that includes the rationale for the transfer shall be written by the faculty of the program or department.
         
      2. The proposal shall be submitted to the dean of each college (if more than one dean is involved), and to the college or department curriculum committees of each college (if more than one college is involved).
         
      3. If two curriculum committees do not exist, such as in the case of a new department or new college, the tenured faculty of the program shall serve as the curriculum committee. Prior to that formal proposal, the relevant dean(s) of the college(s) involved shall discuss the possibility with the full-time faculty of the affected departments.
         
      4. After review of the proposal, the curriculum committee(s) shall forward the proposal along with its recommendation for transfer to the dean who shall share the proposal with the whole of the college.
         
      5. The dean shall forward a response to the proposal to the provost along with the original proposal and any documents received from curriculum committee(s) regarding the transfer.
         
      6. The final decision on transfer shall be made by the provost.
         
      7. If the transfer of a program affects faculty members, the timing of the transfer of the program shall be consistent the time line established in Policy E21.0.
         
      8. If the transfer of a program affects faculty or the reassignment of faculty, see Policy E21.0.


Responsible Office: Academic Senate and the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Inquiries may be directed to:

Academic Senate
academicsenate@rit.edu
(585)475-2016

Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
academicaffairs@rit.edu
(585)475-5572

Approved March 23, 2019

Policy History

  • Policy number D01.6 reassigned to this policy when it was approved
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