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Appalachian State Announces Program Eliminations and Consolidations with Final Report Released Dec. 16

by Madison V. Fisler

Dec. 18, 2013. On Dec. 16, Appalachian State University released the final report on Academic Program Review and Prioritization, announcing decisions to eliminate and consolidate certain programs within the university.  

The process will eliminate or consolidate 26 programs by the completion of the process, according to an email sent out to faculty from Chancellor Peacock and Provost Gonzalez. 

Many of these programs will be consolidated with other areas and students currently enrolled will be allowed to complete their degree programs.

From the email:

Decisions involving resource allocations are always difficult, but this challenge has been especially hard given the implications for the faculty, staff and students on our campus. We have reviewed the recommendations and determined the best way to move forward.

The University will benefit from these changes in that resources will be reallocated to meet critical academic needs.  A campus of our size rarely reaches unanimous consensus, but we have found great value in the process, and the input and participation of our community.  Thank you to everyone who participated in this difficult but necessary process.

“The Program Prioritization Process began in December 2011 with the Provost’s presentation to the Faculty Senate on academic program review and prioritization in higher education. The Faculty Senate passed a motion to refer the Program Prioritization Metric discussion to the Senate Campus Planning Committee. This Committee proposed three possible methods for reviewing programs. Embracing the Senate Committee’s guidance, a final process for reviewing all programs was accepted in the spring of 2012.

Throughout the 2012-13 academic year, each academic program was reviewed and faculty in each completed a detailed report including quantitative and qualitative outcomes. These reports were evaluated by faculty committees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and were used by college/school deans to prioritize/rank each degree program.

A consolidated report was produced incorporating the outcomes of each college/school review and recommendations formed for each degree program consistent with the original intent of the process. Faculty involvement was crucial throughout the entire program prioritization process. Communication was also important as there were frequent updates from academic leadership including presentations to the Faculty Senate, Council of Chairs, the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees,” the report stated.

Factors considered by the process included graduation rates, enrollment numbers and more. Many eliminations were rationalized citing availability at other universities, insufficient demand and low productivity. 

Undergraduate programs that are slated for elimination include: business education, secondary education, family and consumer sciences and technology education. Graduate programs that are identified for elimination include: child development, romance languages, criminal justice, music education, history education and gerontology. 

Programs that are slated to be consolidated, but not eliminated, are: Appalachian studies, women’s studies, and global studies to be consolidated into interdisciplinary studies; languages, literatures and culture, secondary education to be consolidated with languages, literatures and cultures, secondary education in mathematics to be consolidated with mathematics, art management to be consolidated with studio art, apparel design and merchandising to be moved to the College of Fine and Applied Arts and biology, ecology, evolution and environmental biology to be consolidated with biology, according to page 8 of the report. 

Further reviews are scheduled for 2015 and 2016 to monitor other undergraduate and graduate programs that have also been identified. Programs recommended for further monitoring include community and regional planning, philosophy and religious studies for undergraduates and computer science, higher education, middle grades and elementary education, English, psychology, and nutrition among others for graduates. 

And it is not just graduate and undergraduate majors that have been targeted with this process.

From the report: 

In the spring 2014, the campus will begin the process of reviewing minors, concentrations and certificates. These academic offerings require use of the most important resource on the campus – faculty time. This critical resource must be used wisely. Additionally, a process will be developed to identify programs that should be enhanced and provided additional resources, if available.

The next steps after consolidation and elimination, stated by the report, are steps towards enhancement of remaining programs along with review of minors, concentrations and certificates.

To read the full report, click here