Program prioritization is underway at campuses

UCCS furthest along in process; some regents ask for dates to be set in completing reports

The Board of Regents’ program prioritization process is underway on all CU campuses, though some are further along than others, the board heard Tuesday during its meeting at the University of Colorado Denver.

Regent Kyle Hybl explained that  the scale of the campuses and disparate years in existence mean that, for example, evaluating programs at the University of Colorado Boulder will require more time than doing the same at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, which he expects could report findings to the board as soon as next summer.

“Each campus has a different timeline,” Hybl told the board. “I think we’re heading in the right direction, but we don’t have firm dates yet.”

Regents James Geddes and Irene Griego indicated that they understood the nature of the varying timelines, but that they wanted to soon see specifics on the calendar.

“There’s nothing more important that we’re doing than this,” Geddes said. “The financial welfare of the university rests on the success of this program. … We need to have some dates set.”

Said Chair Michael Carrigan, “I’d rather have us do it right than do it quick.”

Hybl said he will work with each of the campuses “to find dates acceptable both to us and to them, so they don’t shortchange the development of the process in terms of involving faculty in determining metrics that will be used to evaluate programs.”

In meetings earlier this year, board members have said that ongoing challenges to state funding of higher education compel the board to look closely at how academic programs are evaluated for resource need.

“I’m encouraged by the progress since our last meeting,” Hybl said. “This process has the potential to identify which programs are best in class or even world class. We also want to identify the programs we need to develop and nurture, and those that may need to be reviewed and re-examined.”

During remarks to the board during the Faculty Council chair’s report, Mark Malone – speaking on behalf of Melinda Piket-May – said that some faculty have expressed concerns about program prioritization.

“Melinda appreciates the degree that Faculty Council has been involved, particularly the folks at UCCS,” Malone said. “She feels that the Faculty Council can serve as a mechanism to keep the campus assemblies informed so that people understand what the process really is, as opposed to what their fears might be.”