With program prioritization underway at Boise State, faculty and students recently had the chance to discuss the upcoming review of campus services and academics.
Held on Oct. 9 in the Micron Business Building, the meeting addressed prioritization proposals.
Jim Munger, the vice provost for Academic Planning, led the discussion with a powerpoint laying out all the details of the plan. Program prioritization came from the mandate by the Governor several years ago that all programs go through zero-based budgeting.
This type of budgeting is not beneficial for higher education institutions, so the State Board of Education recommended that a type of program prioritization be put in place in its stead.
The program that Boise State is implementing comes from the work of Robert C. Dickeson, author of the book “Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services.” According to Munger’s presentation, and in line with Dickeson’s method, the broad purpose of program prioritization will be to “better align resources with institutional priorities.”
This includes the possible discontinuation, reduction, reallocation or restructuring of funds for each program.
However, Dickeson’s model is catered to very mature institutions with equally mature programs. Boise State is a relatively younger institution with newer programs. So in the long run, Boise State should look to have more programs not fewer.
“We need to grow. We need to change. We need to evolve in order to accompany those needs,” Munger said.
All programs (departments) will submit data and then be placed into a category ranging from “candidate for enrichment” to “candidate for discontinuation.” This data will construct the outcome of each programs future funding.
The criteria that programs will be based upon are: relevance, quality, productivity, efficiency, opportunity analysis and opportunities for restructuring.
“We want them (the criteria) to actually measure what we are trying to measure and if there are things that are difficult to measure we need to figure out a way to get at them,” Munger said.
After all the data has been gathered it will be sent back to each department to be verified and sent back to the board. The group of people who will organize the data have not yet been determined.
“The first challenge is, we need to figure out a way to take all of these different sorts of evidence and consolidate those so we can end up with a single picture about the department,” Munger said. “The second challenge is making the data comparable among the departments.”
Li Sperl, who works in the Administration Department of Boise State, attended the meeting. Sperl will most likely be a part of the team that puts together the data gathered from the departments.
“I see it having a lot of value if it’s handled properly,” Sperl said.